Brent Nelsen received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of
Wisconsin in 1989 and began teaching at Furman in January 1990.
Nelsen’s teaching and scholarship focus on Europe and the European
Union. His first book, entitled The State Offshore: Petroleum, Politics,
and State Intervention on the British and Norwegian Continental Shelves
(Praeger), explored oil policy in the North Sea.
A subsequent edited volume—Norway and the European Community: The
Political Economy of Integration (Praeger)—examined the troubled
relationship between Norway and an integrating Europe. Nelsen has teamed
up with one of his former students (Alexander Stubb, now Prime Minister of Finland)
to publish a textbook on the European Union called The European Union:
Readings on the Theory and Practice of European Integration (Lynne
Rienner Publishers). The fourth edition was published in May 2014.
Since 2001 Dr. Nelsen has shifted his research interests to the study of
religion and politics in Europe. He has published several articles on
how religion shapes the attitudes of Europeans toward the EU. His newest book, Religion and the Struggle for European Union: Confessional Culture and the Limits of Integration, co-authored with colleague James L. Guth, will be published by Georgetown University Press in Winter 2015.
In 2010 Nelsen ran unsuccessfully for State Superintendent of Education.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley later appointed him chair of the
Educational Television Commission. She appointed him to a second six-year term in 2014. President Obama nominated him
to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Board of Directors. His nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in August 2013. His term runs until 2016.
Dr. Nelsen married his wife Lori in 1981. They have three children.
The Nelsen family helped start Redeemer Presbyterian Church in 2001; Dr. Nelsen serves as an elder in the church. He loves to read, run, hike, garden, ski—and take students on travel study-study tours to all of his favorite places in Europe!