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About Charles L. Zelden

Charles L. Zelden, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Humanities and Politics at NSU's Halmos College of Arts and Sciences (HCAS), teaching courses in history, government and legal studies. He has been a member of the NSU faculty since 1993. From 2003-2005 he served as the Chair for the history major, as well as the lead faculty member for the College’s Intro to American Government class. In 2012, he was named the Distinguished Professor of the Year by the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences.  

A legal-Constitutional historian by training, Zelden has published seven books to date: Justice Lies in the District: The U. S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, 1902-1960(1993); Voting Rights On Trial (2002); The Battle for the Black Ballot:  Smith v Allwright and the Defeat of the Texas All-White Primary (2004); Bush v Gore: Exposing the Hidden Crisis in American Democracy (2008); The Supreme Court and Elections (2009); Bush v Gore: Exposing the Hidden Crisis in American Democracy, Abridged and Updated 2ndEdition (2010); and Thurgood Marshall: Race, Rights and the Struggle for a More Perfect Union (2013). Dr. Zelden is also the general editor of ABC-Clio Press’ three volume About Federal Government encyclopedia (for which he was volume editor of Vol. III on the Federal Judiciary).

Dr. Zelden has published a number of scholarly articles, the most recent of which are: “The Southern Roots of the Reapportionment Revolution,” in Sally Hadden and Patricia Minter, eds., Signposts: New Directions in Southern Legal History, (University of Georgia Press, 2013). “Old Vinegar in a New Bottle: Vote Denial in the 2000 Presidential Election and Beyond,” in Winning While Losing? Civil Rights, The Conservative Movement and the Presidency From Nixon to Obama (University of Florida Press, 2014), “’In no event shall a Negro be eligible’: The NAACP takes on the Texas All White Primary, 1923-1944,” in Long Is The Way and Hard: One Hundred Years of the NAACP (University of Arkansas Press, 2009).  His current project is The American Judicial System: A Very Short Introduction for Oxford University Press. 

A regular commentator on politics and current events for local media outlets, Dr. Zelden offered extensive commentary and analysis of the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Presidential elections on TV, radio and print as well as the midterm elections of 2010 and 2014. Among the outlets were: CNN; WTVJ  (NBC Channel 6, South Florida); NBC Network News (Today Show, MSNBC, the Nightly News); WFOR (CBS Channel 4, South Florida); WPLG (Channel 10, South Florida); WBZL (WB Channel 39, South Florida); the Florida News Channel (24-Hour Cable Network); WIOD (News Radio 610, South Florida); the South Florida Sun Sentinel; The Miami Herald; the Palm Beach Post; and WUWF (Public Radio, Pensacola, FL).

Among his other endeavors, Dr. Zelden was the Series Editor for ABC-Clio’s “On Trial” series of books and is lead editor and book review editor of H-Law (On-Line Listserv of the American Society for Legal History). From 2011-2013 he served is a member of the Board of Directors for the American Society for Legal History. He is also currently the advisor for the NSU Martial Arts Club.


2012 - Present Professor of History and Politics, Nova Southeastern University Halmos College of Arts and Sciences - Department of Humanities and Politics
2006 - Present Professor of History, Nova Southeastern University College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
1999 - 2006 Associate Professor, Nova Southeastern University
1993 - 1999 Assistant Professor, Nova Southeastern University
1991 - 1993 Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Arlington
1990 - 1991 Instructor, San Jacinto College
1986 - 1990 Instructor, Houston Community College
1985 - 1990 Research Assistant, Rice University


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Professional Service and Affiliations

2021 - Present Co-Series Editor, Southern Legal Studies, UGA Press
2020 - Present Co-Director, Council for Dialogue and Democracy (CDD), Nova Southeastern University
2020 - Present Member, Department Scholars Fund Committee (DHP), Nova Southeastern University
2020 - Present Member, National Security Affairs and International Relations Comps Committee (DHP)
2020 - Present Member, Pre-Law Committee (DHP), Nova Southeastern University
2019 - Present Member, Board of Directors, ACLU of Broward County
2018 - Present Lead Editor emeritus, H-Law
2018 - Present Member, Web Committee, American Society for Legal History (ASLH)
2015 - Present Advisor, NSU Martial Arts Club
2012 - Present Member, Publications Committee, American Society for Legal History (ASLH)
2011 - Present Lead Editor and Book Review Editor, H-Law (On-Line Listserv of the American Society for Legal History)
Present General Editor, ABC-Clio Press’ three volume About Federal Government encyclopedia
Present External Member, Internal Review Committee - Masters in Education
2021 - 2022 Outgoing Chair, Faculty Advisory Council, Halmos College of Arts and Sciences (HCAS), Nova Southeastern University
2018 - 2020 Chair, Faculty Advisory Roundtable, CAHSS, Nova Southeastern University
2020 Co-Chair, Faculty Advisory Committee, Halmos College of Arts and Sciences (HCAS), Nova Southeastern University
2019 Member, Internal Review Committee – BA in History, Nova Southeastern University
2018 Member, Internal Review Committee – MS in National Security Studies and International Relations (DHPS), NSU
Member, Organization of American Historians
Member, Southern Historical Association
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Honors and Awards

  • (2012) Distinguished Professor of the Year, Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences, Nova Southeastern University
  • (2000) Farquhar Center (Undergraduate) Faculty of the Month for November, Nova Southeastern University
  • (1991) Captain Charles Septimus Longcope Award for Best Paper in History Written by a Graduate Student, Rice University
  • (1991) Mary Hayes Ewing Publication Prize in Southern History
  • (1985) Graduated Summa Cum Laude, Washington University
  • (1985) J. Walter Goldstein Award for Best Undergraduate Thesis
  • (1985) Member, Phi Beta Kappa
  • (1984) Member, Phi Alpha Theta


  • HIST 3010: Constitutional History I
  • HIST 3010: Constitutional History II
  • HONR 1500K: Honors Reading Sem: Spike Lee
  • HONR 2000E: Utopias and Dystopias
  • HUMN 4800: Humanities Capstone
  • LGST 2500: Introduction to Legal Studies


1991 Ph.D., History, Rice University
1985 M.A., History, Washington University
1985 B.A., History/Anthropology, Washington University

Contact Information

(954) 262-8218


Articles (7)

Books and Book Contributions (20)