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 chairs the Department of Religious Studies at Duke. Morgan received his 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: Visual Piety (University of California Press, 1998), Protestants and Pictures (Oxford, 1999), and The Sacred Gaze (California, 2005). Morgan is co-founder and co-editor of the international scholarly journal, Material Religion, and co-editor of a book series at Routledge entitled “Religion, Media, and Culture.” Morgan 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 »

The Visual Culture of American Religions. Ed. D Morgan and S Promey. Taylor & Francis US, 2001. (Edited Book)

Morgan, D, and Promey, SM. Exhibiting the Visual Culture of American Religions. Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso University, 2000. (Exhibition Catalog)

Icons of American Protestantism. Ed. D Morgan. Yale University Press, 1996. (Edited Book)


Morgan, D. "Finding Fabiola." Media and Culture: A Reader. Ed. G Lynch and J Mitchell. Routledge, 2011. 171-181. (Chapter)

Morgan, D. "The Material Culture of Lived Religion: Visuality and Embodiment." Mind and Matter. Ed. J Vakkari. Society of Art History, 2010. 14-31. (Essay)

Morgan, D. "Image, Art and Inspiration in Modern Apparitions." Looking Beyond: Images, Dreams, and Insights in Medieval Art and History. Ed. C Hourihane. Index of Christian Art, 2010. 265-282. (Chapter)

Morgan, D. "Seeing Nationhood: Images of American Identity." Powers: Religion as a Social and Spiritual Force. Ed. MT Borg and JWV Henten. Fordham University Press, 2010. 81-102. (Essay)

Morgan, D. "Aura and the Inversion of Marian Pilgrimage: Fatima and Her Statues." Moved By Mary: Pilgrimage in the Modern World. Ed. J Hermkens and Notermans. 2009. pp. 49-65. (Essay)

Morgan, D. "American Holy Land: Tissot in the National Context." Prodigal Son: James Tissot and the "Life of Christ". Ed. J Dolkart. Brooklyn Museum, 2009. pp. 48-65. (Chapter)

Morgan, D. "Painting as Visual Evidence." Using Visual Evidence. Ed. R Howells and R Matson. Open University Press, 2009. pp. 8-23. (Chapter)

Morgan, D. "Image." Key Words in Religion, Media and Culture. June 30, 2008. 96-110. Full Text

Morgan, D. "Images of the Passion and the History of Protestant Visual Piety in America." The Passion Story: From Visual Representation to Social Drama. Ed. M Kupfer. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2008. 131-145. (Chapter)


Morgan, D. "Bodies of Belief: Baptist Community in Early America." JOURNAL OF THE EARLY REPUBLIC 29.3 (2009): 538-543.

Morgan, D. "God's Strange Work: William Miller and the End of the World." JOURNAL OF THE EARLY REPUBLIC 29.3 (2009): 538-543.

Morgan, D. "Religion and the Making of Nat Turner's Virginia: Baptist Community and Conflict, 1740-1840." JOURNAL OF THE EARLY REPUBLIC 29.3 (2009): 538-543.

Morgan, D. ":Our Distance from God: Studies of the Divine and the Mundane in Western Art and Music." The American Historical Review 113.5 (December 2008): 1478-1478. Full Text

Morgan, D. "Seeing Things: Deepening Relations with Visual Artefacts." Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art and Belief 4.2 (July 1, 2008): 237-238. Full Text

Morgan, D, and Ivey, PE. "Prayers in Stone: Christian Science Architecture in the United States, 1894-1930." The Journal of American History 88.1 (June 2001): 217-217. Full Text


Morgan, D. "The Materiality of Sacred Economies." Material Religion 11.3 (July 3, 2015): 387-391. Full Text Open Access Copy

Haghighi, M, Smith, A, Morgan, D, Small, B, and Huang, S. "Identifying cost-effective predictive rules of amyloid-β level by integrating neuropsychological tests and plasma-based markers." Journal of Alzheimer'S Disease : Jad 43.4 (January 2015): 1261-1270. Full Text

Morgan, D. "Religious Objects in Museums: Private Lives and Public Duties." Journal of Contemporary Religion 29.2 (May 4, 2014): 359-360. Full Text Open Access Copy

Meyer, B, Morgan, D, Paine, C, and Plate, SB. "Material religion's first decade." Material Religion 10.1 (March 2014): 105-110. Full Text

Morgan, D. "The Ecology of Images: Seeing and the Study of Religion." Religion and Society 5.1 (January 1, 2014). Full Text

Morgan, D. "Religion and Media: A Critical Review of Recent Developments." Critical Research on Religion: An Interdisciplinary Journal 1 (December 2013): 47-56.

Morgan, D. "Religion and media: A critical review of recent developments." Critical Research on Religion 1.3 (December 2013): 347-356. Full Text Open Access Copy

Morgan, D. "The Emotional Technology of Evangelicalism." American Art 25.3 (September 2011): 13-15. Full Text

Morgan, D. "Thing." Material Religion: the Journal of Objects, Art and Belief 7.1 (March 1, 2011): 140-146. (Essay) Full Text Open Access Copy


Morgan, D. "The vicissitudes of seeing: Iconoclasm and idolatry." Religion 33.2 (April 2003): 170-180. Full Text

Morgan, D. "Spirit and Medium: The Video Art of Bill Viola." Image 26 (2000). (Essay)

Morgan, D. "Ambiguous Icons: The Art of Ed Paschke." Image 17 (1997): 31-44. (Essay)

Morgan, D. "Sallman’s Head of Christ: The History of an Image." The Christian Century 109 (October 7, 1992): 868-870. (Essay)

Morgan, D. "The Allure of Electronic Media and the Study of Religion." Religion and American Culture 16.1: 7-13. (Essay)


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