David Morgan


Professor of Art, Art History and Visual Studies


  • Ph.D., 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, on art history and critical theory, and on religion and media. 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 Studying the Materiality of Belief."


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.


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, 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. “Religion and Visuality in America: Material Economies of the Sacred.” Cambridge History of Religions in America, 3 Vols., edited by Stephen Stein, vol. 1, Cambridge University Press, 2012, pp. 748–80.

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. “Thomas Kinkade and the History of Protestant Visual Culture in America.” Thomas Kinkade: The Artist in the Mall, Duke University Press, 2011, pp. 29–53.


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

Morgan, D. “Temples for a modern god: religious architecture in postwar America.” Choice Reviews Online, vol. 51, no. 01, 1 Sept. 2013, pp. 51-0093-51–0093. Manual, doi:10.5860/CHOICE.51-0093. Full Text

Morgan, David. “Approaches to the Visual in Religion. Edited by Daria Pezzoli-Olgiati and Christopher Rowland.” International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, vol. 23, no. 3, Informa UK Limited, July 2013, pp. 250–52. Crossref, doi:10.1080/10508619.2012.728070. Full Text

Morgan, David. “Review of Christ to Coke: How Image Becomes Icon by Martin Kemp.” Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art and Belief, vol. 9, no. 1, 1 Mar. 2013, pp. 121–22. Manual, doi:10.2752/175183413X13535214684375. Full Text

Morgan, David. “Juliane Schmieglitz-Otten., ed. Die Celler Schlosskapelle: Kunstwelten, Politikwelten, Glaubenswelten. Munich: Hirmer Verlag, 2012. 260 pp. €49.90. ISBN: 978–3–7774–7031–3..” Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 66, no. 4, Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2013, pp. 1383–84. Crossref, doi:10.1086/675119. Full Text


Meyer, Pierre-François, et al. “Hypothesis: cerebrospinal fluid protein markers suggest a pathway toward symptomatic resilience to AD pathology..” Alzheimer’S & Dementia : The Journal of the Alzheimer’S Association, vol. 15, no. 9, Sept. 2019, pp. 1160–71. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2019.05.007. Full Text

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

Simpkins, S. J., et al. “Poor predictive value of lower gastrointestinal alarm features in the diagnosis of colorectal cancer in 1981 patients in secondary care..” Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, vol. 45, no. 1, Jan. 2017, pp. 91–99. Epmc, doi:10.1111/apt.13846. Full Text

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 (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)

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