David Morgan


Professor of Art, Art History and Visual Studies


  • Ph.D., The University of Chicago 1990

  • M.A., University of Arizona 1984

  • B.A., Concordia College 1980


David Morgan is Professor of Religious Studies with a secondary appointment in the Department of Art, Art History, and Visual Studies at Duke. He chaired the Department of Religious Studies from 2013 to 2019. Morgan received the Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1990. He has published several books and dozens of essays on the history of religious visual culture, fine art, and art theory. Images at Work: The Material Culture of Enchantment, was published in 2018 by Oxford University Press. The Forge of Vision: A Visual History of Modern Christianity, based on the 2012 Cadbury Lectures delivered at the University of Birmingham, UK, appeared in 2015 from the University of California Press. Previous books include The Embodied Eye: Religious Visual Culture and the Social Life of Feeling (California, 2012), The Lure of Images: A History of Religion and Visual Media in America (Routledge, 2007) and two that he edited and contributed to: Religion and Material Culture: The Matter of Belief (Routledge, 2010) and Key Words in Religion, Media, and Culture (Routledge, 2008). Earlier works: The Sacred Gaze (California, 2005), Protestants and Pictures (Oxford, 1999), and Visual Piety (University of California Press, 1998). Morgan is co-founder and co-editor of the international scholarly journal, Material Religion, and co-editor of a book series entitled "Bloomsbury Studies in Material Religion," published by Bloomsbury, London. He is currently at work on a new book under contract with the University of North Carolina Press, entitled "The Thing about Religion: An Introduction to the Material Study of Religions."


History of religious visual culture, art history and critical theory, religion and media


The Sacred Heart of Jesus: The Visual Evolution of a Devotion
From its origins in the mid-seventeenth century visions of the French nun Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647–90) to its continuing employment in worship today, the Devotion to the... read more »
Religion and Material Culture: The Matter of Belief
Religious belief is rooted in and sustained by material practice, and this book provides an extraordinary insight into how it works on the ground. David Morgan has brought... read more »
The Embodied Eye: Religious Visual Culture and the Social Life of Feeling
David Morgan builds on his previous groundbreaking work to offer this new, systematically integrated theory of the study of religion as visual culture. Providing key tools... read more »

Morgan, D. Images at work: The material culture of enchantment. 2018, pp. 1–230. Scopus, doi:10.1093/oso/9780190272111.001.0001. Full Text

Morgan, D. The Forge of Vision: A Visual History of Modern Christianity. University of California Press, 2015.

Morgan, David. The Embodied Eye: Religious Visual Culture and the Social Life of Feeling. University of California Press, 2012.

Morgan, D. Key words in religion, media and culture. 2008, pp. 1–240. Scopus, doi:10.4324/9780203894071. Full Text

Morgan, David. The Sacred Heart of Jesus: The Visual Evolution of a Devotion. Amsterdam University Press, 2008.

Morgan, D., and J. Elkins, editors. Re-enchantment. Vol. 7, Routledge, 2008.

Morgan, D., and S. Promey, editors. The Visual Culture of American Religions. Taylor & Francis US, 2001.


Neal, M. B., et al. “Using mixed methods in research related to work and family.” The Work and Family Handbook: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives and Approaches, 2015, pp. 587–606. Scopus, doi:10.4324/9780203885383-38. Full Text

Van Rompay, L., et al. “Epilogue.” The Long Shadow of Vatican II: Living Faith and Negotiating Authority Since the Second Vatican Council, 2015, pp. 128–37.

Morgan, D. “The Senses in Religion: Migrations of Sacred and Sensory Values.” A Cultural History of the Senses, edited by Jerry P. Toner et al., Berg, 2014, pp. 89–111.

Morgan, D. “The Image of the Protestant Bible in America.” The Bible in the Public Square, edited by Mark A. Chancey et al., Society of Biblical Literature, 2014, pp. 93–120.

Morgan, D. “Reflection: Religious tracts in the eighteenth century.” Media, Religion and Culture: An Introduction, 2014, pp. 84–85.

Morgan, David. “Kimsooja and the Art of Place.” Kimsooja: Unfolding, Vancouver Art Gallery, 2013, pp. 115–23.

Morgan, David. “Art, Material Culture, and Lived Religion.” The Oxford Handbook of Religion and the Arts, edited by Frank Burch Brown, Oxford University Press, 2013.

Morgan, D. “Finding fabiola: Visual piety in religious life.” Religion, Media and Culture: A Reader, 2012, pp. 171–81. Scopus, doi:10.4324/9780203805657-24. Full Text

Morgan, David. “Rhetoric of the Heart: Figuring the Body in Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.” Things: Material Religion and the Topography of Divine Spaces, Fordham University Press, 2012, pp. 90–111.

Morgan, David. “The Look of the Sacred.” Cambridge Companion to Religious Studies, edited by Robert A. Orsi, Cambridge University Press, 2012, pp. 296–318.


Morgan, David. “Roberta Gilchrist. 2020. Sacred heritage: monastic archaeology, identities, beliefs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 978-1-108-49654-7 hardback £75.Antiquity, vol. 94, no. 375, Antiquity Publications, June 2020, pp. 814–16. Crossref, doi:10.15184/aqy.2020.69. Full Text

Morgan, David. “Image Acts: A Systematic Approach to Visual Agency.” Material Religion, vol. 15, no. 5, Informa UK Limited, 20 Oct. 2019, pp. 641–42. Crossref, doi:10.1080/17432200.2019.1633085. Full Text

Morgan, David. “Religion: Material Dynamics.” Journal of Contemporary Religion, vol. 34, no. 3, Informa UK Limited, 2 Sept. 2019, pp. 571–72. Crossref, doi:10.1080/13537903.2019.1661610. Full Text

Morgan, David. “Aesthetics of Religion: A Connective Concept, edited by Alexandra K. Grieser and Jay Johnston, Berlin and Boston, De Gruyter, 2017, xi + 497 pp., US$114.99 (hardback), ISBN 978 3 1104 6101 5.” Religion, vol. 49, no. 2, Informa UK Limited, 3 Apr. 2019, pp. 311–14. Crossref, doi:10.1080/0048721x.2019.1578942. Full Text

Morgan, David. “How pictures complete us: the beautiful, the sublime, and the divine.” Material Religion, vol. 14, no. 1, Informa UK Limited, 2 Jan. 2018, pp. 135–36. Crossref, doi:10.1080/17432200.2017.1418228. Full Text Open Access Copy

Morgan, David. “Saints and Sacred Matter: the Cult of Relics in Byzantium and Beyond.” Material Religion, vol. 12, no. 4, Informa UK Limited, 27 Oct. 2016, pp. 524–25. Crossref, doi:10.1080/17432200.2016.1237748. Full Text

Morgan, David. “Commun(icat)ing Bodies: Body as a Medium in Religious Symbol Systems.” Journal of Contemporary Religion, vol. 31, no. 2, Informa UK Limited, 3 May 2016, pp. 292–94. Crossref, doi:10.1080/13537903.2016.1152696. Full Text

Morgan, David. “Missionaries and Idols in Polynesia.” Material Religion, vol. 12, no. 2, Informa UK Limited, 2 Apr. 2016, pp. 248–248. Crossref, doi:10.1080/17432200.2016.1172774. Full Text

Morgan, David. “The Sensuous in the Counter-Reformation Church. Edited by Marcia B. Hall and Tracy E. Cooper. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. xv + 339 pp. $99.00 cloth.Church History, vol. 83, no. 4, Cambridge University Press (CUP), Dec. 2014, pp. 1037–38. Crossref, doi:10.1017/s0009640714001395. Full Text


Gilchrist, R., and D. Morgan. “Archaeology, Heritage, And The Material Study Of Religion.” Material Religion, vol. 16, no. 4, Aug. 2020, pp. 511–17. Scopus, doi:10.1080/17432200.2020.1794596. Full Text Open Access Copy

Morgan, David. “Sensual Religion: Religion and the Five Senses.” Journal of Contemporary Religion, vol. 35, no. 2, Informa UK Limited, May 2020, pp. 364–66. Crossref, doi:10.1080/13537903.2020.1766230. Full Text

Morgan, D. “A generative entanglement: Word and image in Roman catholic devotional practice.” Entangled Religions, vol. 11, no. 3, Jan. 2020. Scopus, doi:10.13154/er.11.2020.8443. Full Text Open Access Copy

Morgan, D. “Soldier Statues and Empty Pedestals: Public Memory in the Wake of the Confederacy.” Material Religion, vol. 14, no. 1, Jan. 2018, pp. 153–57. Scopus, doi:10.1080/17432200.2017.1418231. Full Text Open Access Copy

Morgan, D. “The subject in question.” Journal of Material Culture, vol. 22, no. 4, Dec. 2017, pp. 476–84. Scopus, doi:10.1177/1359183517740008. Full Text Open Access Copy

Morgan, D. “Defining the sacred in fine art and devotional imagery.” Religion, vol. 47, no. 4, Oct. 2017, pp. 641–62. Scopus, doi:10.1080/0048721X.2017.1361587. Full Text Open Access Copy

Morgan, D. “The Visual Piety of the Sacred Heart.” Material Religion, vol. 13, no. 2, Apr. 2017, pp. 233–36. Scopus, doi:10.1080/17432200.2017.1302127. Full Text Open Access Copy

Morgan, D. “Materializing the study of religion.” Religion, vol. 46, no. 4, Oct. 2016, pp. 640–43. Scopus, doi:10.1080/0048721X.2016.1210395. Full Text Open Access Copy

morgan, D. “On the nature of collecting.” Material Religion, vol. 12, no. 3, July 2016, pp. 375–77. Scopus, doi:10.1080/17432200.2016.1192154. Full Text Open Access Copy

Morgan, D. “The Materiality of Sacred Economies.” Material Religion, vol. 11, no. 3, July 2015, pp. 387–91. Scopus, doi:10.1080/17432200.2015.1082723. Full Text Open Access Copy


Morgan, D. “Violence and Memory.” The Revealer, 12 May 2011.

Meyer, B., et al. “The origin and mission of Material Religion.” Religion, vol. 40, no. 3, 1 July 2010, pp. 207–11. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.religion.2010.01.010. Full Text

Morgan, D. Liberty and Liberty Together. 10 June 2009.

Morgan, D. “The Materiality of Cultural Construction.” Material Religion, vol. 4, no. 2, July 2008, pp. 228–29.

Morgan, D. “Materiality.” Encyclopedia of Missions and Missionaries, Routledge, 2007.

Morgan, David. “Kimsooja and the Discipline of Looking.” Curator: The Museum Journal, vol. 49, no. 3, Wiley, July 2006, pp. 295–300. Crossref, doi:10.1111/j.2151-6952.2006.tb00223.x. Full Text

Morgan, David. “Reformed Theology and Visual Culture: The Protestant Imagination from Calvin to Edwards. By William A. Dyrness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. xv + 342 pp. $85.00 cloth; $29.99 paper.Church History, vol. 74, no. 2, Cambridge University Press (CUP), June 2005, pp. 384–85. Crossref, doi:10.1017/s0009640700110492. Full Text

Morgan, David. “Reviews of Books:From Meetinghouse to Megachurch: A Material and Cultural History Anne C. Loveland, Otis B. Wheeler.” The American Historical Review, vol. 110, no. 1, Feb. 2005, pp. 124–124. Manual, doi:10.1086/531151. Full Text

Morgan, D. “The Image of the Image of the Image.” Image, vol. 42, June 2004.

Morgan, D. “Antigone’s Wall: Magadalena Abakanowicz and the Allure of Images.” Image, vol. 43, 2004, pp. 25–33.


Selected Grants

Material Religion: State of the Art awarded by Henry Luce Foundation, Inc. (Principal Investigator). 2015

Fellowships, Supported Research, & Other Grants

Research & Travel Grant awarded by Stichting Porticus, Amsterdam (2004 to 2005)

NEH Humanities Fellowship awarded by National Endowment for the Humanities (2001 to 2002)

Postdoctoral Fellowship in the History of Art and Humanities awarded by J. Paul Getty (1996 to 1997)

Pew Postdoctoral Fellowship in Religion and American History awarded by Yale University (1994 to 1995)

Spring 2021

Protestants and Pictures (ARTHIST 844.01)
Online ON, F 01:45 PM-04:15 PM

Fall 2020

Religious Material Culture (ARTHIST 911.01)
Online ON, F 01:45 PM-04:15 PM

Fall 2017

Catholic Visual Piety (ARTHIST 859.01)
Gray 094, F 01:25 PM-03:55 PM

Fall 2016

Religious Material Culture (ARTHIST 911.01)
Gray 094, F 01:25 PM-03:55 PM

Spring 2014

Religious Material Culture (ARTHIST 911.01)
Gray 220, F 01:40 PM-04:10 PM