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Charles L. Zelden, Ph.D.

Charles Zelden
(954) 262-8218


  • Ph.D. Rice University
  • M.A. Washington University
  • B.A. Washington University

Professional Interests

Charles L. Zelden, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Humanities and Politics at NSU's Halmos College of Arts and Sciences, 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 2nd Edition (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.

Areas of Academic Focus

  • American Legal/Constitutional History
  • America in the 20th Century
  • 20th Century American South
  • The Judicial Process
  • Civil Rights, Voting Rights, and Election Law

Courses Taught

  • 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

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