PhD University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1977
- What Should Political Theory Be Now? SUNY (ed., 1983).
- Video Rhetorics: Televised Advertising in American Politics, University of Illinois (with G. R. Boynton, 1997).
- Tropes of Politics: Science, Theory, Rhetoric, Action, University of Wisconsin Press (1998).
Dr. Nelson is also the editor of the journal Poroi: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Rhetorical Analysis and Invention.