Center for Global Studies

The Center for Global Studies and the

Human Rights & Global Justice Working Group



Free Burma:

Transnational Legal Action and Corporate Accountability

Book Launch with Mason Faculty

John Dale


Thursday, April 26, 2012

3:00 to 4:30pm

Mason Hall, Edwin Meese Conference Room

Fairfax Campus

Mason professor John Dale celebrates the launch of his book: Free Burma: Transnational Legal Action and Corporate Accountability (University of Minnesota Press). Join us on Thursday, April 26, for a book launch event in Mason Hall, Meese Room on the Fairfax Campus.


When the military’s ruling party violently quashed Burma’s pro-democracy movement, diplomatic condemnation quickly followed—to little effect. But when Burma’s activists began linking the movement to others around the world, the result was dramatically different. This book is the first to explain how Burma’s pro-democracy movement became a transnational social movement for human rights.

Through the experience of the Free Burma movement, John G. Dale demonstrates how social movements create and appropriate legal mechanisms for generating new transnational political opportunities. He presents three corporate accountability campaigns waged by the Free Burma movement. The cases focus on the legislation of “Free Burma” laws in local governments throughout the United States; the effort to force the state of California to de-charter Unocal Oil Corporation for its flagrant abuse of human rights; and the first-ever use of the U.S. Alien Tort Claims Act to sue a corporation in a U.S. court for human rights abuses committed abroad.

Dale’s work also raises the issue of how foreign policies of so-called constructive engagement actually pose a threat to the hope of Burma’s activists—and others worldwide—for more democratic economic development.

About the Author

John Dale is Associate Professor of Sociology at George Mason University, and will be the Graduate Program Director in the Sociology Department beginning Fall, 2012.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis, in 2003, and was a National Endowment for the Humanities Visiting Scholar at Columbia University in 2005. He is also co-author (with Anthony Orum) of Political Sociology: Power and Participation in Modern World (Oxford University Press, 2009). Professor Dale first began conducting fieldwork in Burma in 1997, and has been researching and writing about the Free Burma movement ever since.  He frequently serves as an expert source and provides commentary for Print, TV and Radio interviews and reports on politics in Burma (Myanmar) for news organizations around the world.




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