Professor, Politics and International Affairs
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, former 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.
For over two decades, Dr. Nelsen has been studying the relationship between religion and politics in Europe. He has published several journal articles on how religion shapes the attitudes of Europeans toward the EU, including, “Losing Faith: Religion and Attitudes toward the European Union in Uncertain Times,” with colleague James L. Guth, JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies 58(4)(2020). His book on the subject, Religion and the Struggle for European Union: Confessional Culture and the Limits of Integration, co-authored with Dr. Guth, was published by Georgetown University Press in 2015. Recently, Dr. Nelsen has turned his attention to the rise of populist parties in Europe. He and Dr. Guth published, “Party Choice in Europe: Social Cleavages and the Rise of Populist Parties,” in Party Politics 27(3)(Spring 2021).
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. He resigned from the Commission in 2019. 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. He completed his term in 2016.
Dr. Nelsen married his wife Lori in 1981. Lori Nelsen is the founder and co-owner of Oak Hill Café and Farm, a nationally recognized farm-to-table restaurant in Greenville. They have three children and two grandchildren.
Finally, Dr. Nelsen loves to read, run, hike, bike, garden—and take students on travel-study tours to all of his favorite places in Europe!
- Fulbright Fellowship, 1987
- President, South Carolina Political Science Association 2009-2010
- Ph.D, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- M.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison
- B.A., Wheaton College
- Politics of the European Union
- Religion and Politics
- European Integration Theory
- Petroleum Policy in Europe
- Religion and the Struggle for European Union: Confessional Culture and the Limits of Integration, co-authored with James. L. Guth (Georgetown University Press, 2015)
- The European Union: Readings on the Theory and Practice of European Integration, eds. Brent F. Nelsen and Alexander C-G. Stubb (Boulder, Col.: Lynne Rienner Publishers). First Edition, 1994, Second Edition, 1998; Third Edition, 2003; Fourth Edition, 2014
- Norway and the European Community: The Political Economy of Integration, ed. Brent F. Nelsen (Westport, CT: Praeger Pub¬lishers, 1993)
- The State Offshore: Petroleum, Politics, and State Intervention on the British and Norwegian Continental Shelves (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1991).
- “Protestantism and Europe,” with James L. Guth, in Lucian Leustean and Grace Davie, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Europe (Oxford University Press, 2021), 458-479
- “Losing Faith: Religion and Attitudes toward the European Union in Uncertain Times,” with James L. Guth, JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies 58(4)(2020): 909-924 (published online 31 October 2019)
- “Party Choice in Europe: Social Cleavages and the Rise of Populist Parties,” with James L. Guth, Party Politics 27(3)(Spring 2021): 453-464, published online 10 June 2019: https://doi.org/10.1177/1354068819853965
- “Explaining Policy Convergence in Europe: A Research Note,” with Amanda Michalski and James L. Guth, Journal of Political Science, 45 (2017): 75-92
- “European Union or Kingdom of the Antichrist? Protestant apocalyptic narratives and European unity,” (with James L. Guth, National Identities 19(2)(2017): 251-267 (published online 12 January 2017)
- “Religion and the Creation of European Identity: The Message of the Flags,” with James L. Guth, The Review of Faith & International Affairs, 14(1)(March 2016): 80-88
- “Does Religion Still Matter? Religion and Public Attitudes toward Integration in Europe,” with James L. Guth and Brian Highsmith, Politics and Religion, 4(1)(April 2011): 1-26 (published online 1 November 2010)
- “The Political Activity of Evangelical Clergy in the Election of 2000: A Case Study of Five Denominations,” with several co-authors, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 42(4)(December 2003): 501-514
- “Religion and Youth Support for the European Union,” with James L. Guth, Journal of Common Market Studies, 41(1)(March 2003): 89-112
- “Does Religion Matter? Christianity and Public Support for the European Union,” with James L. Guth and Cleveland R. Fraser, European Union Politics, 2(2)(Spring 2001): 191-217
- “Exploring the Gender Gap: Women, Men, and Public Attitudes toward European Integration,” with James L. Guth, European Union Politics, 1(3)(Fall 2000): 267-91
- “Explaining Petroleum Policy in Britain and Norway, 1962-1990,” Scandinavian Political Studies, 15(4)(1992): 307-28.
Other Articles of Note
- “Calls,” in David Bost, ed., Callings, (Greenville, SC: The Cothran Center for Vocational Reflection, 2017), pp. 29-41
- “Religion in the European Union: The Forgotten Factor,” with James L. Guth, in Luke M. Harrington, Alasdair McKay, and Jeffrey Haynes, eds. Nations Under God: The Geopolitics of Faith in the Twenty-First Century (Bristol, England: E-International Relations Publishing, 2015), 203-210
- “Is the European Union a Christian Club?,” An Uncertain Road: Muslims and the Future of Europe, Report for the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, December 2004, http://pewforum.org/publications/reports/MuslimsinEurope2004.pdf
- “Presbyterian Church in America,” with Beverly A. Gaddy, in Pulpit and Politics: Clergy in American Politics at the Advent of the Millennium (Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, 2004), pp. 141-152
- “The Nordic Countries,” in Research Guide to U.S. and International Interest Groups, ed. Clive S. Thomas (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2004), pp. 311-314; “The European Economic Area,” in Encyclopedia of the European Union, ed. Desmond Dinan (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1998)
- “An Evangelical Perspective,” Furman Studies, Special Issue, Furman University’s Religious Identity, ed. Brent F. Nelsen, 39(1)(1997): 127-159.