About Cal Jillson


Cal Jillson
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Cal Jillson, professor of political science at Southern Methodist University, is frequently called upon by reporters for his astute observations of state and national politics. Reporters love him for the time he takes with them, the ideas he offers -- which often lead to more stories -- and the way he takes complex issues and puts them into easy-to-understand historical frameworks, expressed by a seasoned writer and speaker. Both The Dallas Morning News and the San Antonio Express-News have profiled him as one of Texas’ top political experts.

As a scholar of American politics, Cal shares his knowledge of how government and politics work, in particular the development of American institutions and ideas and how they continue to shape national debates. He earned a doctorate in government and politics in 1979 from the University of Maryland and has been teaching about American politics since 1976. Since moving to Texas in the mid-1990s, he has charted the rise to power of President George W. Bush and has written extensively on U.S. and Texas. On the international side, Cal is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. From 1996 to 2001, he was chair of the SMU Political Science Department and directed the Tower Center for Political Studies, which examines domestic politics and national security issues.

In addition to his classic book, Pursuing the American Dream: Opportunity and Exclusion Over Four Centuries, Jillson is the author of two popular government texts. American Government: Political Development and Institutional Change (Routledge, 2008) is now in its fifth edition with a sixth edition scheduled for 2011. Texas Politics: Governing the Lone Star State (McGraw-Hill) is currently in its second edition with a third scheduled for 2011. His other books include Congressional Dynamics (Stanford University Press, 1994), New Perspectives on American Politics (Congressional Quarterly Press, 1994) and The Dynamics of American Politics (Westview Press, 1994). All deal with the origins of American legislatures and with the health and performance of contemporary American political institutions. He also is co-editor of Pathways to Democracy: The Political Economy of Democratic Transitions (Routledge, 1999) and of Perspectives on American Government (Routledge, 2010).

He is currently at work on a book titled Lone Star Tarnished on the shortcomings of Texas public policy.