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.