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Todd Eisenstadt

Professor Department of Government

Professor Eisenstadt has worked on five continents, publishing multiple award-winning books and dozens of articles. He studies development with research that focuses on democratization and environmental politics. He is presently PI (along with Karleen West) of a National Science Foundation (NSF) project using a survey conducted with Ecuadorian partners to study poor, rural, indigenous communities to understand how they experience climate vulnerability, especially in areas of heavy oil extraction. The project stems in part from an earlier book, Politics, Identity, and Mexico's Indigenous Rights Movements (Cambridge University Press, 2011). He and West are completing a book manuscript on this project tentatively titled Who Speaks for Nature? Indigenous Activists, Oil Drillers, Public Opinion, and Extractive Populism in Ecuador.

His research also looks at the relationship between constitution-making processes and democratization across scores of nations, and the implementation of judicial reforms in Mexico and Latin America. Along these lines, he published Courting Democracy in Mexico: Party Strategies and Electoral Institutions (Cambridge University Press, 2004 based on his University of California, San Diego dissertation), and dozens of journal articles and book chapters. With co-authors Carl LeVan and Tofigh Maboudi he has just published Constituents Before Assembly: Participation, Deliberation, and Representation in the Crafting of New Constitutions (Cambridge University Press, 2017). His research has been funded by the Fulbright Commission, the National Security Education Program (NSEP), the Ford and Mellon foundations, USAID, and the NSF.

A former director of multiple United States Agency for International Development (USAID) grants in Mexico, Eisenstadt has trained hundreds of stakeholders in judicial reform implementation, electoral observation and other government processes there. Formerly an award-winning print journalist and Capitol Hill staffer, Eisenstadt has worked as a consultant for USAID, the Organization of American States, and several development companies. The 2016-17 chair of American University’s Faculty Senate, and Faculty Trustee for the university, Eisenstadt has undertaken a range of administrative positions. From 2009-2012 Eisenstadt served as chair of the Department of Government and has served multiple terms as the Doctoral Program Director. His doctoral students have received awards from the NSF, the Fulbright, Boren, and Inter-American Foundations, and he has held visiting appointments at El Colegio de México and CIDE (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas) in Mexico City, Harvard University, the University of California, San Diego, and the Latin American Social Science Faculty (FLACSO) in Quito, Ecuador.


PhD University of California, San Diego
MA The Johns Hopkins University
BA Brown University

Favorite Spot on Campus
Anywhere there is good coffee

Download Resume (PDF)

SPA - Government
Ward - 244
Contact Info
(202) 885-6493

Send email to Todd Eisenstadt

For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

Partnerships & Affiliations

  • Other AU Affiliation

    Faculty Affiliate, SIS


  • Spring 2018

    • GOVT-496 Selected Topics:Non-Recurring: Ind, Nation-Sts & Climate Chng
    • Description

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

Recent Grants: Latin American Studies Association/Mellon Foundation, 2012 principal investigator (co-PI Carl LeVan of American University) for “From Parchment to Practice: Explaining When New Constitutions Fail to Improve Democracy."

USAID, Higher Education and Development TIES Program for “Uniting Law and Society in Oaxaca, Mexico: A Research and Teaching Program.”

Recent Awards: William M. LeoGrande Award for best book on Latin American or Latino Studies published during 2011-2012 by a member of the American University community for Politics, Identity, and Mexico’s Indigenous Rights Movements.

Van Cott Award from the Political Institutions Section of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), 2012, for Politics, Identity, and Mexico’s Indigenous Rights Movements, which was named by a jury as best book on political institutions since the last LASA Congress in 2010.

Work In Progress

"Where the Debate between Development and Environmentalism Gets Personal: Public Opinion, Vulnerability, and Living with Extraction on Ecuador's Oil Frontier," Todd Eisenstadt and Karleen West (Forthcoming in Comparative Politics, January 2017)

Selected Publications

Recent Books

Latin America’s Multicultural Movements and the Struggle Between Communitarianism, Autonomy, and Human Rights. (with Mike Danielson, Jaime Bailon, and Carlos Sorroza, eds.) New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Politics, Identity, and Mexico's Indigenous Rights Movements. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011. Contentious Politics Series. Kindle version also published.

AU Expert

Area of Expertise:

U.S.-Latin American relations, politics in Latin America, immigration, democratization, Mexico, ethnic identity, survey research, indigenous rights movement, ethnic politics, environment

Additional Information:

Todd Eisenstadt studies democratization, identity and social movements, public opinion, political parties, and election finance—mainly in Latin America. Eisenstadt recently attended the UN climate summit in Lima, Peru. He is the principal researcher of the grant Uniting Law and Society in Oaxaca, Mexico: A Research and Teaching Program, a project of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Higher Education and Development Program. He is also the author of Courting Democracy in Mexico and has authored and edited four other books. He is completing the manuscript Surveying the Silence: Liberal and Communal Identities in Southern Mexico’s Indigenous Rights Movement. Between 2000 and 2005, Eisenstadt directed USAID’s Mexico Elections Project, including academic research and the training of hundreds of observers of local elections and other government processes in Mexico. He is a former print journalist and Capitol Hill staffer.

Media Relations
To request an interview please call AU Media Relations at 202-885-5950 or submit an interview request form.

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