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John Dale

Former Fellow


    September 3, 2019 — May 22, 2020

    Professional affiliation

    Associate Professor of Sociology, George Mason University

    Wilson Center Projects

    Outsmarting Ourselves? The Digital Transformation of Human Rights

    Full Biography

    John G. Dale is Associate Professor of Sociology at George Mason University. He earned his PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Davis, in 2003, and was National Endowment for the Humanities Visiting Scholar at Columbia University in 2005. He is author of Free Burma: Transnational Legal Action and Corporate Accountability (University of Minnesota Press, 2011) and co-author of Political Sociology: Power and Participation in the Modern World (Oxford University Press, 2009). He serves on the Steering Committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Science & Human Rights Coalition and as a Council Member of the American Sociological Association’s Section on Human Rights. Dale often advises NGOs and provides expert analysis on contentious politics in Myanmar (Burma) for major news media throughout the world. His current research explores how big data and digital technologies reshape the practices and politics of human rights, and understandings of humanity.

    Major Publications

    • Free Burma: Transnational Legal Action and Corporate Accountability (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2011)
    • “Smart Transitions? Foreign Investment, Disruptive Technology, and Democratic Reform in Myanmar.” (with David Kyle). Social Research: An International Quarterly, “Special Issue: From Burma to Myanmar: Critical Transitions” Volume 82, No. 2 (Summer, 2015): 291-326. Available at
    • “Smart Humanitarianism: Re-imagining Human Rights in the Age of Enterprise.” (with David Kyle) Critical Sociology Volume 42, No. 6 (2016): 783-797.
    • Available at