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, 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. “Finding Fabiola.” Media and Culture: A Reader, edited by Gordon Lynch and Jolyon Mitchell, Routledge, 2011, pp. 171–81.

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. “The Material Culture of Lived Religion: Visuality and Embodiment.” Mind and Matter, edited by Johanna Vakkari, Society of Art History, 2010, pp. 14–31.

Morgan, David. “Image, Art and Inspiration in Modern Apparitions.” Looking Beyond: Images, Dreams, and Insights in Medieval Art and History, edited by Colum Hourihane, Index of Christian Art, 2010, pp. 265–82.

Morgan, David. “Seeing Nationhood: Images of American Identity.” Powers: Religion as a Social and Spiritual Force, edited by Meerten ter Borg and Jan Willem van Henten, Fordham University Press, 2010, pp. 81–102.

Morgan, David. “Aura and the Inversion of Marian Pilgrimage: Fatima and Her Statues.” Moved By Mary: Pilgrimage in the Modern World, edited by Jansen Hermkens and Jansen Notermans, 2009, p. pp.49-65.

Morgan, David. “American Holy Land: Tissot in the National Context.” Prodigal Son: James Tissot and the “Life of Christ,” edited by Judith Dolkart, Brooklyn Museum, 2009, p. pp.48-65.

Morgan, David. “Painting as Visual Evidence.” Using Visual Evidence, edited by Richard Howells and Robert Matson, Open University Press, 2009, p. pp.8-23.

Morgan, D. Introduction: Religion, media, culture: The shape of the field. 2008, pp. 1–19. Scopus, doi:10.4324/9780203894071. 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

Morgan, David. “Sound and Space in Renaissance Venice: Architecture, Music, Acoustics. By Deborah Howard and Laura Moretti. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2010. xv + 368 pp. $55.00 cloth.Church History, vol. 79, no. 4, Cambridge University Press (CUP), Dec. 2010, pp. 922–24. Crossref, doi:10.1017/s0009640710001241. Full Text Open Access Copy

Morgan, David. “Imaginary Friends: Representing Quakers in American Culture, 1650-1950.” Church History, vol. 79, no. 2, June 2010, pp. 483–85. Manual, doi:10.1017/S0009640710000375. Full Text Open Access Copy

Morgan, David. “God's Strange Work: William Miller and the End of the World.” Journal of the Early Republic, vol. 29, no. 3, 2009, pp. 538–43.

Morgan, David. “Religion and the Making of Nat Turner's Virginia: Baptist Community and Conflict, 1740-1840.” Journal of the Early Republic, vol. 29, no. 3, 2009, pp. 538–43.

Morgan, David. “Bodies of Belief: Baptist Community in Early America.” Journal of the Early Republic, vol. 29, no. 3, 2009, pp. 538–43.


Morgan, David. “Religious Objects in Museums: Private Lives and Public Duties.” Journal of Contemporary Religion, vol. 29, no. 2, Informa UK Limited, May 2014, pp. 359–60. Crossref, doi:10.1080/13537903.2014.903680. Full Text Open Access Copy

Morgan, David. “The Ecology of Images: Seeing and the Study of Religion.” Religion and Society, vol. 5, no. 1, Berghahn Books, Jan. 2014. Crossref, doi:10.3167/arrs.2014.050106. Full Text Open Access Copy

Meyer, B., et al. “Material religion's first decade.” Material Religion, vol. 10, no. 1, Jan. 2014, pp. 105–10. Scopus, doi:10.2752/175183414X13909887177628. Full Text Open Access Copy

Morgan, D. “Religion and media: A critical review of recent developments.” Critical Research on Religion, vol. 1, no. 3, Dec. 2013, pp. 347–56. Scopus, doi:10.1177/2050303213506476. Full Text Open Access Copy

Morgan, David. “Religion and Media: A Critical Review of Recent Developments.” Critical Research on Religion: An Interdisciplinary Journal, vol. 1, Dec. 2013, pp. 47–56. Open Access Copy

Morgan, D. “Mediation or mediatisation: The history of media in the study of religion.” Culture and Religion, vol. 12, no. 2, June 2011, pp. 137–52. Scopus, doi:10.1080/14755610.2011.579716. Full Text Open Access Copy

Meyer, B., et al. “Introduction: Key words in material religion.” Material Religion, vol. 7, no. 1, Mar. 2011, pp. 4–9. Scopus, doi:10.2752/175183411X12968355481737. Full Text Open Access Copy

Morgan, David. “Thing.” Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art and Belief, vol. 7, no. 1, Mar. 2011, pp. 140–46. Manual, doi:10.2752/175183411X12968355482411. Full Text Open Access Copy

Morgan, David. “The Emotional Technology of Evangelicalism.” American Art, vol. 25, 2011, pp. 13–15.

Morgan, David. “The look of sympathy: religion, visual culture, and the social life of feeling.” Material Religion, vol. 5, no. 2, Informa UK Limited, July 2009, pp. 132–54. Crossref, doi:10.2752/174322009x12448040551567. Full Text


Morgan, David. “The vicissitudes of seeing: Iconoclasm and idolatry.” Religion, vol. 33, no. 2, Apr. 2003, pp. 170–80. Manual, doi:10.1016/S0048-721X(03)00046-0. Full Text

Morgan, D. “Spirit and Medium: The Video Art of Bill Viola.” Image, vol. 26, 2000.

Morgan, D. “Ambiguous Icons: The Art of Ed Paschke.” Image, vol. 17, 1997, pp. 31–44.

Morgan, D. “Empathy and the Experience of ‘Otherness’ in Pechstein’s Depictions of Women: The Expressionist Search for Immediacy.” The Smart Museum of Art Bulletin, vol. 4, University of Chicago Press, 1993, pp. 12–22.

Morgan, D. “Sallman’s Head of Christ: The History of an Image.” The Christian Century, vol. 109, 7 Oct. 1992, pp. 868–70.

Morgan, D. “The Allure of Electronic Media and the Study of Religion.” Religion and American Culture, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 7–13.

Morgan, D. Screen Media and Public Reflection about Religion in the College Classroom. The Multifaith Media Project, The Hartley Film Foundation and Auburn Theological Seminary’s Center for Multifaith Education.


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