His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He occasionally writes on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.
His first book, The Struggle for Power in Early Modern Europe: Religious Conflict, Dynastic Empires, and International Change (Princeton University Press, 2009), won the International Security Studies Section (ISSS) Best Book Award for 2010. His second book, Exit from Hegemony: The Unravelling of American Global Order (Oxford University Press, 2020), co-authored with Alex Cooley, explores the contentious politics of international order. He is co-editor of Undermining American Hegemon: Goods Substitution in World Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2021) and Harry Potter and International Relations (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006).
He has held fellowships at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation and at the Ohio State University’s Mershon Center for International Studies. During 2009-2010, he worked in the U.S. Department of Defense as a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow. From 2014-2018, he was the lead editor of International Studies Quarterly.
He has also written for such non-academic outlets as Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and The Atlantic.
He helped coordinate a volunteer foreign-policy group for the 2016 Bernie Sanders campaign. He remains interested in how progressives should think about, and pursue, foreign policy.
Nexon co-hosts a podcast, with Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, which is pretty much what it sounds like, and contributes to two group weblogs: Lawyers, Guns and Money and The Duck of Minerva. He spends too much time on social media: he can be found (for now) on Twitter and on Mastodon.