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Aparna Polavarapu

Title: Associate Professor of Law
School of Law
Email: aparnap@law.sc.edu
Phone: 803-777-8925
Office:

1525 Senate Street
Room 238
Columbia, SC 29208

Resources:

CV [pdf]

SSRN

profile

Background

Professor Polavarapu has over 15 years of experience working in human rights and rule of law, both domestically and abroad.  She has significant legal expertise in the field of legal pluralism, with a particular research focus on informal, non-state-centered justice systems and how they work together with formal, state-centered systems.

Professor Polavarapu’s research has covered a wide range of topics, including legal innovations used by courts to expand access to constitutional justice, the use of restorative justice mechanisms to combat domestic violence in Uganda, and how customary and statutory law interact to govern land rights in sub-Saharan Africa.  Much of her scholarship draws from her direct experience working with women’s rights groups in sub-Saharan Africa and in the United States.

Beyond scholarship, Professor Polavarapu continues to work on domestic and global women’s rights and justice matters.  She has instructed U.S. Government officials from various agencies on international rule of law topics, including African customary law, legal pluralism, and strategies for promoting justice and basic rights in legally pluralistic systems.  In addition to her scholarship, she has authored expert reports on women’s rights for organizations such as the UN Foundation. Locally, she has testified before the South Carolina Senate on legislation affecting women, and she is currently working with the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault to educate its member organizations about the use of restorative justice to combat domestic violence.

Professor Polavarapu teaches courses in Comparative Law, Rule of Law, Transnational Law, and International Human Rights Law. 

Prior to coming to South Carolina, Professor Polavarapu was a Teaching Fellow with Georgetown's International Women's Human Rights Clinic. Prior to that, she practiced law at Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP in Boston. She received an LLM and JD from Georgetown University Law Center, a BS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a MA in international affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, at Tufts University.

Teaching

  • Comparative Law (LAWS 780)
  • International Human Rights Skills Course (LAWS 733)
  • Transnational Law (LAWS 784)
  • Rule of Law Seminar (LAWS 815)

Selected Scholarship

  • Global Carceral Feminism and Domestic Violence: What the West can Learn from Reconciliation in Uganda, 42 Harv. J. L. & Gender 123 (2019).
  • Expanding Standing to Protect Democracy, 41 Yale J. Int’l L. 105 (2016).
  • Initial Reflections on an Interdisciplinary Approach to Rule of Law Studies, 8 L. & Dev. Rev. 277 (2015) (with Joel Samuels).
  • Reconciling Indigenous and Women’s Rights to Land in Sub-Saharan Africa, 42 Ga. J. Int’l & Comp. L. 93 (2013).
  • Procuring Meaningful Land Rights for the Women of Rwanda, 14 Yale Hum. Rts. & Dev. L.J. 105 (2011).
  • Child Marriage and Guardianship in Tanzania: Robbing Girls of their Childhood and Infantilizing Women, 7 Geo. J. Gender & L 357 (2006) (with Tamar Ezer, Kate Kerr, Tina Tolentino, and Kara Major).

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