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Todd Eisenstadt Professor, Research Director of CEP Department of Government

Additional Positions at AU
Research Director, Center for Environmental Policy, School of Public Affairs
PhD, University of California, San Diego
MA, The Johns Hopkins University
BA, Brown University

Favorite Spot on Campus
Anywhere there is good coffee
Professor Eisenstadt has worked on six 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 leading a World Bank study of attitudes towards climate change among the most vulnerable in Bangladesh. In 2019, he published Who Speaks for Nature? Indigenous Environmental Movements, Public Opinion, and Ecuador's Petro-State. Eisenstadt and his co-author used a National Science Foundation-funded survey to study rural, indigenous communities to understand how they experience climate vulnerability, especially in areas of heavy oil extraction in Ecuador’s Amazon region. Published by the Oxford University Press, the book stems in part from an earlier book, Politics, Identity, and Mexico's Indigenous Rights Movements (Cambridge University Press, 2011). 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 and co-authors Carl LeVan and Tofigh Maboudi in 2017 published Constituents Before Assembly: Participation, Deliberation, and Representation in the Crafting of New Constitutions (Cambridge University Press). He also published Courting Democracy in Mexico: Party Strategies and Electoral Institutions (Cambridge University Press, 2004 based on his dissertation), and dozens of journal articles and book chapters on this topic. His research has been funded by the Council on Foreign Relations, The World Bank, Fulbright Commission, the National Security Education Program (NSEP), the Ford and Mellon foundations, USAID, and the National Science Foundation (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 (Nashville Tennessean “night police beat” back in the day) and Capitol Hill staffer, Eisenstadt has consulted for The World Bank, USAID, the Organization of American States, and several development companies. Eisenstadt has also held a range of leadership positions at American University. He served as chair of the Department of Government and has served multiple terms as Graduate Program Director. He also has chaired the American University Faculty Senate and served as the Board of Trustees’ faculty representative. 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.
See Also
SPA Department of Government
For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.


Spring 2021

  • GOVT-496 Selected Topics:Non-Recurring: Climate Change, Science & Pol

  • GOVT-899 Doctoral Dissertation

  • SPA-096 Selected Topics:Non-Recurring: Changemakers: Climate Action

Summer 2021

  • GOVT-899 Doctoral Dissertation

Fall 2021

  • CORE-106 Complex Problems Seminar: Eth/Pol Dimen of Climate Chng

  • GOVT-696 Selected Topics:Non-Recurring: Comp Climate/Environ Politics

Partnerships & Affiliations

  • Other AU Affiliation
    Faculty Affiliate, SIS

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

Recent Grants:

National Science Foundation, 2014-2017 principal investigator (co-PI Karleen West, SUNY-Geneseo) for book "Who Speaks for Nature? Indigenous Environmental Movements, Public Opinion, and Ecuador's Petro-State."

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:

Outstanding Doctoral Mentorship Award, American University's annual award to a doctoral advisor, 2017. 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.

Selected Publications

Recent Books

Constituents before Assembly:  Participation, Deliberation, and Representation in the Crafting of New Constitutions (with A. Carl LeVan and Tofigh Maboudi).  New York:  Cambridge University Press.

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.

Work In Progress

"Climate Change-Induced Migration in Bangladesh:  Findings from the Focus Group Discussions in Vulnerable Areas," Todd Eisenstadt, Sk. Tawfique M. Haque, Jie Lu, and Mizanur Rahman, 2017 typescript.

"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 (Comparative Politics, January 2017)

"Indigenous Belief Systems, Science and Resource Extraction:  Climate Change Attitudes in Ecuador and the Global South," Todd Eisenstadt and Karleen West (Global Environmental Politics, February 2017)


AU Experts

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.

For the Media

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

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