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School of Law


Aparna Polavarapu

Title: Associate Professor of Law
School of Law
Phone: 803-777-8925

1525 Senate Street
Room 238
Columbia, SC 29208


CV [pdf]




Professor Polavarapu teaches courses in Comparative Law, Rule of Law, Transnational Law, and International Human Rights Law. Her research focuses on rule of law and human rights, with particular emphasis on land rights and customary/statutory law interaction. Much of her scholarship draws from her direct experience working with women and women's rights groups in various nations in sub-Saharan Africa.

Professor Polavarapu maintains a connection with legal and other practitioners in rights-based advocacy and rule of law. She has worked with in-country legal service providers in countries such as Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania to prepare and file impact litigation, as well as to perform fact-finding research and develop legal advocacy reports. In addition, Professor Polavarapu regularly lectures to U.S. Government officials from various agencies, including the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Department of Defense on international rule of law topics, including African customary law, legal pluralism, and strategies for promoting justice and basic rights in legally pluralistic systems.

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 law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, her undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Masters degree in international affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.


  • 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 [__] (forthcoming 2018).
  • 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).

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.