Picture of Jeffrey McIllwain, Ph.D.

Jeffrey McIllwain, Ph.D.


Dr. McIllwain was an undergraduate at The University of Southern California (USC), graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a triple major in International Relations, Political Science, and History. After attending USC, Dr. McIllwain accepted a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship to study at The Contemporary History Institute at Ohio University, where he earned an M.A. in U.S. Diplomatic History, a minor in Modern East Asian History, and a certificate in Contemporary History. He then accepted a graduate assistantship to The Pennsylvania State University where he earned his Ph.D. in Administration of Justice in 1997. He also studied Roman history and British politics at Cambridge University in England (1990), national security as a Flinn Foundation Scholar at Northern Arizona University (1990), and terrorism, counterterrorism, and policing at An Garda Siochana College in the Republic of Ireland (1995).

Office Hours

Fall 2017 -
Tuesday 6:00-6:45pm
Wednesday, Thursday 3:00-3:45pm

Office: PSFA 179

E-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Phone: 619-594-3876

Dr. Jeffrey Scott McIllwain joined the Program in Criminal Justice Administration in the School of Public Affairs at San Diego State University (SDSU) in 2000. A tenured Associate Professor, he is the Co-Founder and former Co-Director of SDSU’s interdisciplinary graduate-level Homeland Security Program, the first program of its kind in the United States. He previously served as the Director of the interdisciplinary International Security and Conflict Resolution Program (2001-2003) and the Coordinator of the Graduate Program in Criminal Justice and Criminology (2006-2007) at SDSU.  He is also a researcher with SDSU’s Center for Information Convergence and Strategy (CICS).
McIllwain also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Operational Studies Department of Joint Special Operations University (JSOU), the war college for the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).  He is an Associate Editor of Trends in Organized Crime, the official peer-reviewed journal of the International Association for the Study of Organized Crime, and serves as one of the founding members of the Board of Advisors for the newly created Crime History Section of H-Net.org.  He previously served as the Intellectual Property Theft Area Chair and the Homeland Security Area Chair for the American Society of Criminology.
Before coming to SDSU, Dr. McIllwain was an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Administration at Sonoma State University (1996-2000). He has also served as a Visiting Professor at the University of Guadalajara’s Department of Political Science and Center for Strategic Studies (2004), a Fellow at the Institute on the Holocaust and Holocaust Education at Northwestern University (2001), a National Endowment for the Humanities Visiting Scholar at Barnard College and Columbia University (1998), and a Visiting Lecturer at An Garda Siochana College in the Republic of Ireland (1995).
A historian and criminologist, Dr. McIllwain’s research largely emphasizes the impact of history on criminal justice policy, criminological theory, and international and homeland security. He has authored two books, Organizing Crime in Chinatown: Race and Racketeering in New York’s Chinatown (McFarland & Company, 2004) and Deconstructing Organized Crime: An Historical and Theoretical Study (with Joseph Albini, McFarland & Company, 2012). Deconstructing Organized Crime was recently nominated for the American Society of Criminology’s 2014 Michael Hindelang Outstanding Book Award.
McIllwain’s empirical research, which has appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as Justice Quarterly, Crime, Law & Social Change, Western Legal History, Trends in Organized Crime, and Transnational Organized Crime, and his applied research focus on the following specific themes:

• the history and evolution of transnational crime (e.g., drug smuggling, human and arms trafficking, violent crimes,  etc.);

• the history and evolution of criminal justice and security policies intended to address transnational crime;

• the impact of transnational crime on international and national security issues; 
• the impact of transnational crime on border communities and border security;

• technology and crime, especially virtual crime opportunities, challenges, and battlefields;

• the role of upperworld figures and institutions in facilitating transnational crime and irregular warfare;

• the application of social network analysis and cultural anthropology to the study of the human dynamics of organized   crime and irregular warfare;

• and the impact of crime and security on race relations, acculturation, and ethnic identity.

Dr. McIllwain’s current research is focused on the following:
• developing an integrative macro-level theory of organized crime grounded on long-term historical perspectives;

• analyzing the role and function of organized crime networks and upperworld institutions in irregular warfare;
• collecting data for a study on the organization of crime as a means of survival, evasion, resistance, and escape from totalitarian regimes;
• assessing the history of human trafficking networks during the Chinese Exclusion Era in the United States;

• conducting research for a book, tentatively entitled A Global History of Organized Crime;

• engaging in pedagogical reform efforts for the education and training of U.S. military personnel. 

Dr. McIllwain is actively involved with study abroad programs, receiving a Provost’s award for his work in this area.  His most recent study abroad courses are on “British and American Intelligence and Security” in Cambridge, England in partnership with the ACE Foundation and Corpus Christi College (July 2014, 2012) and the “Lessons and Legacies of D-Day” held in Normandy, France in partnership with Normandy Allies (June 2014, 2012, 2010).  Past study abroad courses he taught include “Totalitarianism, Transition, and Reform: The Case of Poland,” in partnership with the University of Warsaw (2011, 2009); “The Lessons and Legacies of WWI” in Béthune, France in partnership with I.U.T de Béthune (June 2012); “Border Security: The Case of the U.S. and Mexico,” which was taught in Baja California Norte, Mexico (2011, 2010, 2007), comparative criminal justice and homeland security courses in Mexico City and Guadalajara (2008) and Guadalajara (2006, 2003, 2001), and the “Irish Criminal Justice System” in the Republic of Ireland (1995). Dr. McIllwain has also set up SDSU student/faculty exchange relationships in Mexico, The Netherlands, Spain, Poland, Australia, and India.

A winner of many teaching and student mentoring awards, Dr. McIllwain has developed and taught one of the first graduate-level courses in the United States dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of homeland security. He has also developed and taught courses on warfare and security, transnational crime and security, organized crime, drugs and society, history of crime and criminal justice, policing, border security, criminal justice policy, gran strategy, the geopolitics of the “Great Game” in Central Asia, and media and crime.

Dr. McIllwain has testified to the U.S. Congress on the subject of border security and has also served as a consultant, advisor, and subject matter expert to a number of criminal justice, homeland security, military, and homeland security-related organizations in the San Diego region, the U.S., and abroad. This is in addition to providing expert commentary to many news periodicals and television news programs (i.e., Los Angeles Times, CNN, Fox News, NPR, Financial Times, San Diego Union-Tribune, Telemundo, Univision, KNX 1070 News Radio, NBC 7/39, etc.).
Dr. McIllwain is a frequent speaker on transnational crime, corruption, national and homeland security, and policing for the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor’s Program and is a frequent speaker to a number of community organizations. He also speaks frequently on topics related to organized crime and homeland and international security to community organizations in the U.S. and abroad.
Dr. McIllwain has served as an American Red Cross disaster and military social services volunteer in the states of California, Ohio, and Pennsylvania and as a board member for the Sonoma County (CA) Chapter where he served as Chair of the Disaster Services Committee. McIllwain also worked for the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management.
Dr. McIllwain spends his free time with his family, church ministries, coaching Pop Warner football, cheering on his beloved USC Trojans football team, and obsessing over his fantasy football teams.