My on-going research interests include British, EU, and US foreign policy towards the Arab-Israeli conflict generally, and the Israeli-Palestinian question more specifically. The primary focus is the party-political, transnational, regional and international decision and policy-making mechanisms. I am also looking at the legacies of European imperialism and colonialism in shaping the geographical boundaries of the Middle Eastern region, and the complex character of the factors influencing many of the contemporary political issues. In connection with these interests, I am especially attracted by the political and theoretical writing of C.L.R. James, Frantz Fanon, Albert Camus, and Amos Oz.
I am developing a new research interest in the foreign policy of China towards the Middle East and North Africa, in particular the diplomatic principles underpinning the efforts of Beijing towards the nuclear non-proliferation negotiations and peace making. A chief aim is to shed further light on the reasons for the absence of China from a series of peace initiatives, including the Camp David summit of 1978, the Madrid Conference (1991), the Oslo Accords (1993), and more recently, the international Quartet for the Middle East (comprising the EU, Russia, the UN, and the US) in the build-up to, and background of, the Iraq War (2003).
Selected conferences and invited papers/lectures
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC), The European Union Delegation, Beijing, China (21 November 2019). Paper: Red Star over Ramallah and Tel-Aviv: China and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (1949-2019).
5th China and The Middle East and North Africa Conference: Institute of Global Studies, Shanghai University (Co-sponsored by Cappadocia University, Republic of Turkey), People’s Republic of China (17—18 May 2019). Paper: ‘Beijing—MENA Relations and the Israeli-Palestinian Question: When Is Enough, Insufficient?’
Paths of Resistance in the Middle East and North Africa, 14th Conference of the Italian Society for Middle Eastern Studies (SeSaMO) (31 January –2 February 2019), Department of Culture, Politics and Society, University of Turin, Italy. Panel 34: Trajectories of ‘resistance’: Iran, Syria and Hezbollah in the Syrian battlefront. Paper: ‘‘The Other’, and ‘The Other, Other’: Hezbollah and Iran as Forces of Resistance and Counter-Terrorism?’
Biannual Middle East conference “Trump and the Middle East” (29–31 October 2018), Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Panel 1: U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East, —‘Something New in the Offing, Or a Case of More is Less: Wilsonianism into the Trump Era’.
4th China and The Middle East Conference, Nevsehir Haci Bektas Veli University (jointly organised with Shanghai University), Cappadocia, Turkey, 20-22 June, 2018, ‘Why Do They Hate Us?’: The Potential of Beijing amid U.S. Foreign Policy tilts regarding the Arab-Israeli Conflict in the Post-Trilateralist Age’.
14th Annual International Conference on International Studies, Athens Institute for Education and Research, 13-16 June 2016, Athens, Greece. Paper, ‘Cross-Cultural Research and Teaching in the Post-9/11 Era: The Case of China’.
The Seventh Asian Conference on the Social Sciences, The International Academic Forum (IAFOR), 9-12 June 2016, Kobe, Japan. Paper, ‘UN Essentials or Reinventing the Wheel: Rising Powers and the decline of Trilateralism in Middle East Peace-Making’.
‘Shall the Twain Meet?: When East looks West to the Middle East (West Asia)’, Invited paper at the conference A New Agenda? Debating the Middle East and Central Asia, Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, The Australian National University, Canberra, 3-4 July 2015.
Nelson, Ian. ‘Infinite Conditions on the Road to Peace: The Second New Labour Government’s Foreign Policy Approach to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict after 9/11’, Contemporary British History, Vol. 33, No. 1, November 2018, pp.123-153, DOI: 10.1080/13619462.2018.1535974. https://doi.org/10.1080/13619462.2018.1535974
Nelson, Ian. (2018) ‘When East looks West to the Middle East’ in Emerging Scholarship on the Middle East and Central Asia: Moving from the Periphery, edited by Katlyn Quenzer, Maria Syed, and Elisabeth Yarbakhsh (Lanham: Lexington Books), pp.167-192.
Nelson, Ian. ‘UN Essentials or Reinventing the Wheel: Rising Powers and the decline of Trilateralism in Middle East Peace-Making’, 9 July 2016, International Academic Forum (IAFOR), http://papers.iafor.org/submission31505/; http://papers.iafor.org/papers/acss2016/ACSS2016_31505.pdf
Nelson, Ian. ‘The First New Labour Government’s Foreign Policy-Making towards the Israeli-Palestinian Question: The Formative Years, 1997-1999’, Contemporary British History, Vol. 28, No. 2, June 2014, pp. 121-144, DOI: 10.1080/13619462.2014.893408.
Nelson, Ian. ‘The Middle East’, International Encyclopaedia of Social Policy, Volume 2, Routledge, 2006 (Hardback), pp. 857-860, and pp.854-860 in 2010 (Paperback).
Additional experiences and information
(2011) Invited participant in the Joint Academia-Foreign and Commonwealth Office Initiative Workshop on New Research Agendas for the Middle East, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London (12 September 2011).
(2004-2006) The University of Nottingham representative on the Jewish-Muslim Forum, a Nottingham community-based group established to promote understanding, contacts, and interfaith dialogue.
(2004) BBC3 Television, ‘Conflicts: Israel and the Palestinians’ (subject specialist).
(2003) Discussion document, ‘A Feasibility Study and Analysis regarding the establishment of a Middle Eastern Studies Facility at Nottingham University,’ commissioned by Professor Fiona Broughton Pipkin, Chair of the Middle Eastern Studies Strategy Group, The University of Nottingham.
(1993) At the invitation of Professor James A. Graff (University of Toronto), I attended the Seventh United Nations European Non-Government Organisations Symposium, and the Tenth United Nations International NGO meeting on the Question of Palestine, Vienna, Austria, 23-24 August 1993, and contributed towards writing the Final Declaration Document (Fifth Draft) adopted by the United Nations.