Cary Nelson (1946), is an American professor of English and Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was president of the American Association of University Professors between 2006 and 2012.
in 1967 Nelson graduated of Antioch College. In 1970, he received a Ph.D in English from the University of Rochester. His scholarship of the 1970s and 80s worked to expand the canon of modern American poetry.
Since the 1990s he has increasingly focused on issues in higher education. In the words of Alan Wald, "With the appearance of Manifesto of a Tenured Radical in 1997. Nelson became an example of the committed scholar who conceived of the advance of his own career in the context of the amelioration of the rank-and-file of the academic community; more specifically, graduate students, part-time employees, and campus workers."
From 2000-2006 Nelson was the second vice president of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). He was elected to a two-year term as president and was re-elected until 2012. In April 2006 Nelson was arrested, along with over 50 others (including Jane Buck, the outgoing president of the AAUP), as part of a unionization effort by New York University's graduate teaching assistants. In October 2015, Nelson stated regarding "frackemia" connections at the Leeds School of Business:"This is an example of complete collusion between the industry and academy that completely eliminates any sense of a university doing independent research. Unless the University of Colorado has a really lousy policy that basically says, ‘there ain’t no such thing as a conflict of interest,’ this is egregious."
He has published or edited twenty five books, including Manifesto of a Tenured Radical and Revolutionary Memory: Recovering the Poetry of the American Left. His academic focus is on modern American poetry.
- No University Is an Island: Saving Academic Freedom. New York University Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-8147-5859-5
-  Cary Nelson.org
-  www.insidehighered.com, 28 April 2008
- Paige Blankenbuehler (1 October 2015). "University research controversy exposes the perils of industry influence". High Country News. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
This is an example of complete collusion between the industry and academy that completely eliminates any sense of a university doing independent research. Unless the University of Colorado has a really lousy policy that basically says, ‘there ain’t no such thing as a conflict of interest,’ this is egregious.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-09-28. Retrieved 2007-01-29.