Cal Jillson, professor of political science at Southern
Methodist University, is frequently called upon by reporters for his
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
As a scholar of American politics, Cal shares his
knowledge of how
government and politics work, in particular the development of
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
moving to Texas in the mid-1990s, he has charted the Republican Party’s rise to power and assessed the prospects of a return to competitiveness of the Democratic Party. He has written extensively on U.S. and
On the international side, Cal is a former member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is adept at interpreting U.S. political personalities and events for foreign audiences. 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, 2015) is now in its ninth edition (2017), and Texas Politics: Governing the Lone Star State (Routledge, 2015) is currently in its sixth edition (2017). His other books include Congressional Dynamics (Stanford University Press, 1994),
New Perspectives on American Politics (Congressional Quarterly
and The Dynamics of American Politics (Westview Press, 1994). All
deal with the origins of American legislatures and with the health
of contemporary American political institutions.
His most recent book, The American Dream in History, Politics, and Fiction, has just appeared from the University Press of Kansas.
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