Michael Dao, Ph.D.
Spartan Complex TBD
Dr. Dao recently completed his Ph.D. in the Graduate Department of Exercise Sciences
University of Toronto, specifically in the physical cultural studies stream. Prior to his doctoral
studies at the University of Toronto, his educational background was founded and forged at San José State University where he completed his undergraduate degree in the Department of Kinesiology (B.S., concentration – sport management), as well as his graduate degree in
Kinesiology (M.S., concentration – sport studies).
Generally, Dr. Dao’s research is interdisciplinary and involves critical pedagogy, historical sociology, critical social theory and development studies. Dr. Dao’s research interests are rooted in sport as tool for development internationally. In a teaching capacity, Dr. Dao will teach primarily in the sport management and culture stream with links to undergraduate core courses and general elective courses.
Professionally, Dr. Dao has worked in various spaces related to sport in university
ranging from development, marketing, ticket operations and compliance. His most recent role was working in the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics at San José State University.
Through this research and professional development Dr. Dao is an advocate for equitable and diverse practices in sport and physical activity. He aims to build bridges between the
Department of Kinesiology and communities around San José to address social barriers that
may prohibit marginalized from participating in sporting spaces. Moreover, as a native of San
José, CA who was born to Vietnamese refugees, Dr. Dao is passionate about immigrant and
refugee rights in America. He hopes his research and teaching will engage all students and
communities to work towards practices of social justice.
Ph.D., University of Toronto – Exercise Sciences (Field of Study: Physical Cultural
M.A, San José State University – Kinesiology (Field of Study: Sport Studies)
B.S., San José State University – Kinesiology (Field of Study: Sport Management)
Expertise, Research & Teaching Interests:
My diverse research interests are united by the use of historical sociology and critical
theoretical approaches to examine dominant and subversive constructions of sport and physical culture, with a particular emphasis on the role of development and social change in
international sport. Broadly, research interests center on how sport and physical activity are
utilized to address humanitarian issues domestically and internationally. Engaging with the field of Sport for Development (SfD), my curiosity stems from how sport when transformed into a tool for development is processed, practiced and participated by numerous stakeholders (e.g., funders, SfD projects, & local community members). This is particularly important as both “sport” and “development” discourses are not similar across different nations, cultures, and peoples. My research has primarily been centered in the Southeast Asian country of Vietnam where I worked alongside an SfD project, Football for All in Vietnam (FFAV). At SJSU, I plan to continue my international partnership and future projects in Vietnam, specifically a historical project of physical culture of the country.
I have taught courses in sport and recreation perspectives, physical culture and social
inequality, and international development through sport. In my courses I aim to engage
students academic rigor, reflexivity and research skills. It is my intent as an educator to provide scholarly and analytical resources for students to use in their lives and apply in their communities. I believe students should be seen as both the means and the ends to their
education and need to drastically embrace their roles as the change agents in their lives.
International Development through Sport – University of Toronto
Physical Culture and Social Inequality - University of Toronto
Sport and Recreation Perspectives – Humber College
Career Development and Speaker Series – Humber College
Darnell, S.C. & Dao, M. (2017). Considering sport for development and peace through the capabilities approach.
Third World Thematics: A TWQ Journal, 1(1), 1-14. DOI:
Dao, M. (2019 ). Book review: Localizing global sport for development and peace. Sociology of Sport Journal.
Dao, M. (2018, November). “Nothing is more precious than independence and liberty:”
for State Development.” Presentation at the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport Annual Conference. Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Ferdinand-Pennock, K., Mackenzie, B., & Dao. M. (2018, November). “Concussion,
media, and the female athlete: A discourse analysis of Canadian media's coverage
of sport-related concussion.” Presentation at the North American Society for the Sociology
of Sport Annual Conference. Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Dao, M. (2018, June). “Exploring sport for development and peace through a participatory
evaluation methodology.” Paper presented at the North American Society for Sport
Management Annual Conference. Halifax, NS, Canada.
Dao, M. (2017, November). “But you’re not really Vietnamese:” Identity in sport for
development research.” Presentation at the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport Annual Conference. Windsor, ON, Canada.
Dao, M. (2017, June). “Participatory capabilities to sport for development in Vietnam.”
presented at the 2017 World Congress of Sociology of Sport. Taoyuan City, Taiwan.
Dao, M. (2015, November). “Critical Education: Capabilities of Sport for Development and
Peace.” Presentation at the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport Annual
Conference. Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.
Undergraduate/Graduate Student Research Supervision:
I am accepting undergraduate and graduate students. Please contact me to discuss research
North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS)
North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM)
International Sociology of Sport Association (ISSA)
Beyond Sport Network
Back to Top