Carnegie Mellon University

David Kaufer

David Kaufer

Mellon Distinguished Professor of English, Director of Rhetoric Program

Area of Study

Global Communication and Applied Translation, Humanities Analytics, Professional Writing, Rhetoric, Technical Writing and Communication


David Kaufer has published 4 books, four textbooks, and over 100 refereed articles on text analysis, rhetorical analysis, writing theory, and writing and technology. His research focuses on digital approaches to text analysis and collaboration. He has built large-scale digital dictionaries (the DocuScope default Libraries) to analyze and assess writing that have been used by ETS, RAND, The Folger Library, and the Stanford Literary Lab. Researchers from the English department and the Computer Visualization Lab of the University of Wisconsin received a Mellon grant specifically to make it possible for textual researchers worldwide to run his dictionaries in their various research projects.

With Ananda Gunawardena of the Princeton Computer Science department, Kaufer also co-invented Classroom Salon, a web-based application used to support textual annotation and collaboration in the humanities and STEM fields. That project currently has a user-base of 20,000 users and has been supported by the Heinz Endowment, NSF, the Gates Foundation, and Google.  In addition to being a descriptive expert in the rhetorical patterns of English writing, Kaufer is an expert in the normative principles underlying effective written communication and has written three textbooks on the subject.


  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin


Selected Publications

Shawn Parry-Giles and David Kaufer (in preparation). The Lincoln Reminiscence: Life Writing from the Exalted to the Common Man (completed manuscript). under review.

Amal Al-Malki, David Kaufer, Suguru Ishizaki, Kira Dreher, Old Stereotypes and New Media, to be published by Bloomsbury, London  (April 2012). 460 print pages.

Parry-Giles, Shawn J., and David S. Kaufer. "Lincoln Reminiscences and Nineteenth-Century Portraiture: Private Virtues and Presidential Character" [lead essay]. Rhetoric & Public Affairs, 15 (2012): 199-234.

David Kaufer, Shawn Parry-Giles, Beata Beigman Klebanov, "Tracking 'Image Bites' Across the Public/Private Divide: NBC News Coverage of Hillary Clinton From Scorned Wife to Senate Candidate," accepted for the Journal of Language and Politics. 

Ananda Gunawardena, Aaron, Tan, David Kaufer (forthcoming) "Encouraging Reading and Collaboration Using Classroom Salon", for publication in the iticse proceedings. Proceedings of the ACM.  

Yang Cai, David Kaufer and Yongmei Hu. Genre and Instinct:, in Y. Cai (ed.) Image-Word Mapping, Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence, LNAI 5897, Springer, 2010.

Beata Beigman Klebanov, David Kaufer, Hilary Franklin (forthcoming) "A Figure in a Field: Semantic Field-Based Analysis of Antithesis" in Journal of Cognitive Semiotics.

Suguru Ishizaki and David Kaufer. "The DocuScope Text Analysis and Visualization Environment." (forthcoming). Invited Chapter for Applied Natural Language Processing and content analysis: Identification, Investigation, and Resolution, editors Philip McCarthy and Chutima Boonthum.