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William Cross

Canadian and comparative political parties and election campaigning; comparative electoral systems; gender and representation; Canadian democratic institutions and political behaviour

Degrees:BA (Waterloo) MA, PhD (Western) JD (University of Houston Law School) MPS (The Graduate School of Political Management)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2799
Office:D699 Loeb Building


Dr. Cross is a student of Canadian and comparative political institutions and his work emphasizes the connections between civil society and political parties and legislatures. His recent work focusses on questions relating to intra-party democracy and organization.  This includes studies of party leadership selection, candidate recruitment and selection, party membership, election campaigning and power relations between local and national party organizations across the Anglo parliamentary democracies.  In recent work, Dr. Cross has explored the relationship between party organization and gender.

Dr. Cross’ writing has appeared in many leading political science journals and his recent books include: The Personalization of Democratic Politics and the Challenge for Political Parties (Rowman Littlefield Press, 2018),  The Promise and Challenge of Party Primary Elections (McGill-Queens, 2016), The Politics of Party Leadership (Oxford University Press, 2015), The Challenges of Intra-Party Democracy (Oxford University Press 2013) and Politics at the Centre: The Selection and Removal of Party Leaders in the Anglo Parliamentary Democracies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). The latter of which received the 2013 Donald Smiley Prize from the Canadian Political Science Association.

In 2015-16, Dr. Cross served as President of the Canadian Political Science Association. Since 2000, he has served as Director of the Canadian Democratic Audit and in 2004-05, he was Director of Research for the New Brunswick Commission on Legislative Democracy.

Dr. Cross joined Carleton in 2005 after teaching for eight years at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick where he held the Edgar and Dorothy Davidson Chair in Canadian Studies. Prior to that, he was a SSHRC post-doctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia.  In an earlier life, he was Legal Counsel to the Democratic National Committee in Washington, D.C. and Staff Council for Dukakis for President in Boston, MA.

Selected Publications

William Cross & Scott Pruysers, 2019, “The Local Determinants of Representation: Party Constituency Associations, Candidate Nomination and Gender,” Canadian Journal of Political Science 1- 18, first view, doi:10.1017.

William Cross, Richard S. Katz and Scott Pruysers, eds., The Personalization of Democratic Politics and the Challenge for Political Parties, Rowman & Littlefield Press, 2018.

Scott Pruyers, William Cross, Anika Gauja and Gideon Rahat, “Candidate Selection Rules and Democratic Outcomes: The Impact of Parties on Women’s Representation,” in Susan E. Scarrow, Paul W. Webb and Thomas Poguntke, eds., Organizing Representation: Political Parties, Participation and Power (Oxford, 2017).

William Cross and Anika Gauja, “Evolving Membership Strategies in Australian Political Parties,” Australian Journal of Political Science 49:4, 2014, 611-625.

William Cross, “Understanding Power Sharing in Political Parties: Stratarchy as Mutual Interdependence Between the Party in the Centre and the Party On-The-Ground,” Government and Opposition 53:7, 2018, 205-230.

William Cross, “The Importance of Local Party Activity in Understanding Canadian Politics,” Canadian Journal of Political Science 49:4, 2016, 601-620.

Scott Pruysers and William Cross, “Candidate Selection in Canada: Local Autonomy, Centralization and Competing Democratic Norms,” American Behavioral Scientist 60:7, 2016, 781-796.