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Richmond, VA 23284-2021
Because her parents were missionaries, Esther Nelson grew up living in various parts of the United States and Argentina. She worked as a Registered Nurse before coming to VCU as a student when her children entered college. After obtaining her Masters in English Writing and Rhetoric, Nelson discovered her passion for Religious Studies which she has been teaching since 1998.
While living in Saudi Arabia in the early 2000s, Nelson was a frequent contributor to the Saudi Gazette. It was during that time she met and befriended famed Qur’anic scholar Nasr Abu Zayd who mentored her in the Qur'an, Islamic history and the effects of colonization on many Muslim-majority countries. Together, they published the book “Voice of an Exile: Reflections on Islam.” She is also the author of “What is Religious Studies?: Journey of Inquiry.” An unapologetic feminist, Nelson is also currently a frequent contributor to the blog Feminism and Religion.