Michael Byron Nelson

Associate Professor and Chair, Political Science

Director, Center for Civic and Social Change

Instructor, Rock Climbing

Rm 332 Center for Science and Business 309-457-2422 https://michaelbnelson-8.youcanbook.me


I have always been interested in understanding how and why different parts of the world get along with each other, with the challenges of poverty and inequality, and with the incredible varieties of cultures.

I have served as a Peace Corps volunteer (Ghana, 1997-99). I have consulted for the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the U.S. government on global food politics, economic development, and China’s role in Africa. I served as editor for the African Politics Conference Group Newsletter for four years. Now, I have the privilege to teach students at Monmouth and direct our Center for Civic and Social Change.

My first training in rock climbing happened decades ago with the Yosemite Mountaineering School. More recently, I received certification from the Climbing Wall Association as an instructor for bouldering, top rope, and lead climbing. My recent outdoor climbing has taken me to Pictured Rocks (Iowa), Jackson Falls and Holy Boulders (Illinois), and the Gunks (New York). 


African Politics, Environmental Politics, Foreign Policy, Global Governance, International Relations, Political Philosophy. 


B.A. – University of California, San Diego, 1997
Ph.D. – University of California, Berkeley, Political Science, 2008

Courses Taught

POLS 103 American Politics

POLS 110 Moot Court

POLS 150 Global Justice

POLS 230 Political Philosophy

POLS 250 European Politics

POLS 270 International Relations

POLS 361 Africa in World Politics

POLS 375 Environmental Politics

POLS 415 Senior Seminar

PHED 139 Rock Climbing

Selected Work

Nelson, Michael. “Ghana: Continuity Among Democratic Elites.” In John Clark, ed. Political Identity and African Foreign Policies. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner. Forthcoming 2024. 

Nelson, Michael. African Coalitions in Global Economic Governance. Cambridge University Press. 2016.

Nelson, Michael. “Africa’s Regional Powers and Climate Change Negotiations.” Global Environmental Politics, Vol. 16, No. 2, Pages 110-129. May 2016.

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be lit.”

– Plutarch