Dr. Nelson received his PhD from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where he conducted ethnographic research in South Korea on transformations in romantic relationships, gender relations, and conceptions of romantic love in contemporary South Korea and their implications for Korea’s declining marriage and fertility rates. He has written on the ethnology of love and his work in Korea in the journal, Cross-Cultural Research, and the International Handbook of Love. He is also engaged in interdisciplinary collaborative research projects aimed at understanding contemporary sexual commerce in the United States as forms of erotic entrepreneurship through the Erotic Entrepreneurs Project and Virtual Sexual Economies Project, investigations of the business strategies, legal barriers and social inequalities navigated by providers of escorting and webcam modeling services, respectively. Dr. Nelson offers courses in cultural anthropology on topics of crime and criminalization, romantic relationships, sexuality, and marriage, social stratification (e.g. gender, race & class), human trafficking, and East Asia.
Dr. Nelson is currently engaged in several ongoing collaborative mixed-method research projects in collaboration with student researchers. He is currently examining the cultural construction of love and gender in Korean television dramas to explore how television programs shape expectations and experiences of romantic relationships in South Korea. Dr. Nelson also works with students and an interdisciplinary team of scholars to study the webcam modeling industry through the Virtual Sexual Economies Project, which is currently focused on understanding racial and ethnic inequalities experienced by cam models in their work on streaming platforms and social media.