ERIKA GEORGE portrait
  • Samuel D. Thurman Professor of Law, College Of Law
  • Professor, College Of Law
  • Director, Tanner Humanities Center, College Of Humanities

Research Summary

I study the obligations of private actors under public international law and policy. My current research explores the evolving responsibilities of business enterprises to respect human rights, various efforts to hold corporations accountable for alleged rights violations, and efforts by corporations to fill voids in global governance. My regional areas of interest and experience include Africa, Asia and Latin America where I study the human rights of women and children.

Education

  • Juris Doctorate, Law, Harvard Law School
  • Master of Arts, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
  • Bachelor of Arts, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO

Biography

Erika R. George is the Samuel D. Thurman Professor of Law at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law where she teaches constitutional law, international human rights law, international environmental law, and seminars on corporate citizenship and sustainability. She was appointed Tanner Humanities Center Director in 2019. She earned her B.A. with honors at the University of Chicago and her J.D. at Harvard Law School, where she served as Articles Editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review.  She also holds an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Chicago.  Her recent scholarship has appeared in the California Law Review, the Michigan Journal of International Law, the New York University Journal of International Law and Policy, the Berkeley Journal of Journal of International Law, and the annual proceedings of the American Society of International Law.  Her current research explores the responsibilities of multinational corporations to respect international human rights and efforts to hold corporations accountable for alleged rights violations. She is the former Interim Director of the Tanner Center for Human Rights and a former University of Utah Presidential Leadership Fellow. She also served as legal studies liaison to the Master of Science in International Affairs and Global Enterprise.

George is a member of the Advisory Board of the American Bar Association Center for Human Rights. She serves on the Board of Trustees of Earthjustice and is a member of the Fair Labor Association Board. She is a member of the editorial board of the Cambridge University Press Business and Human Rights Journal. She is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and was recently elected to the American Law Institute.

Prior to joining the University of Utah, George was a fellow and later consultant to Human Rights Watch conducting human rights investigations in South Africa on women’s rights, children’s rights, violence, the right to education and rights abuses related to the HIVAIDS epidemic.  Her book-length report for Human Rights Watch Scared at School: Sexual Violence Against Girls in South African Schools received widespread media coverage in South Africa and internationally. George has testified before international human rights treaty bodies, foreign governments, and has briefed the international media on international human rights law, racial discrimination, and gender violence. She is a frequent speaker on human rights, sustainability, diversity, gender equality, and corporate social responsibility. The BBC, The Economist, NBC News, CNN, and the Christian Science Monitor among other media outlets have reported on her human rights investigations. In addition to her experience as an academic and human rights advocate, Professor George has practical experience in private commercial practice, from her work as a litigation associate for the corporate law firms of Jenner & Block in Chicago and later Coudert Brothers LLP in New York City.  She is the author of Incorporating Rights: Strategies to Advance Corporate Accountability Oxford University Press (2021).