David Karpf

David Karpf

David Karpf

Associate Professor of Media and Public Affairs


Email: David Karpf
Office Phone: (202) 994-9015
805 21st Street, NW, MPA 405 Washington DC 20052

David Karpf is an associate professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University. His work focuses on strategic communication practices of political associations in America, with a particular interest in Internet-related strategies.

Dr. Karpf is the award-winning author of The MoveOn Effect: The Unexpected Transformation of American Political Advocacy (2012, Oxford University Press) and Analytic Activism: Digital Listening and the New Political Strategy (2016, Oxford University Press). Both books discuss how digital media is transforming the work of political advocacy and activist organizations. His writing about digital media and politics has been published in a wide range of academic and journalistic outlets, including Wired, The Nation, Nonprofit Quarterly, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Prior to entering academia, Dr. Karpf was an environmental organizer with the Sierra Club. He served as National Director of the Sierra Student Coalition in 1999, National Trainings Director from 1998-2000, and National Roadless Campaign Coordinator in 2000. He also served six years on the Sierra Club's Board of Directors (2004-2010). Karpf weaves this practical campaign perspective into much of his research and teaching.

Dr. Karpf previously served as an assistant professor in the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University. He was a resident fellow at the University of Virginia's Miller Center for Public Affairs in 2008-09, a postdoctoral fellow at Brown University's Taubman Center for Public Policy in 2009-2010, and a visiting fellow at Yale University's Information Society Project from 2010–2011. 

Internet politics; political communication; political blogs; online organizing; qualitative methods

SMPA 6204, Strategic Political Communication; SMPA 3353 - Strategic Political Communication; SMPA 3194/3195/6270 - History of the Digital Future


Analytic Activism: Digital Listening and the New Political Strategy. (2016). Oxford University Press.

The MoveOn Effect: The Unexpected Transformation of American Political Advocacy. (2012). Oxford University Press.

Selected Journal Articles

September 2014. “Of Big Birds and Bayonets: Hybrid Twitter Interactivity in the 2012 Presidential Debates.” (with Deen Freelon). Information, Communication, and Society. Volume 18, Issue 4, pp. 390-406.

April 2017. “Digital Politics after Trump.” Annals of the International Communication Association. Volume 41, Issue 2, pp. 198-207.

February 2018. “Analytic Activism and its Limitations.” Social Media & SocietySpecial Issue on Social Media and Organizations.

January 2019. “The Campfire and the Tent: What social movement studies and political communication can learn from each other.” Information, Communication, and Society. Volume 22, Issue 5, pp. 747-753.

December 2019. “Two provocations for the study of digital politics in time.” Journal of Information Technology & Politics. Volume 17, Issue 2, pp. 87-96.

Ph.D., Political Science, University of Pennsylvania, 2009
M.A., Political Science, University of Pennsylvania, 2006
B.A., Politics, Oberlin College, 2002, Summa cum laude