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 »

Morgan, D. "The Study of Religion and Popular Culture: Prospects, Presuppositions, Procedures." Between Sacred and Profane: Researching Religion and Popular Culture. Ed. G Lynch. London: IB Tauris, 2007. 21-33.

Morgan, D. "The Visual Construction of the Sacred." Images and Communities The Visual Construction of the Social. Ed. M Stocchetti and J Sumiala-Seppänen. Helsinki: Gaudeamus-Helsinki University Press, 2007. 53-74. (Chapter)

"Absent Fathers and Women with Beards: Religion and Gender in Popular Imagery of the Nineteenth Century." American Visual Cultures. Ed. D Holloway and J Beck. London: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005. 39-47.

Morgan, D. "Manly Pain and Motherly Love: Mel Gibson’s Big Picture." After The Passion is Gone: American Religious Consequences. Ed. JS Landres and M Berenbaum. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press/Rowman & Littlefield, 2004. 149-157. (Chapter)

Morgan, D. "Catholic Visual Piety and The Passion of the Christ." Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson's Film and Its Critics. Ed. S Brent. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. 85-96. (Chapter)

Morgan, D. "Toward a Modern Historiography of Art and Religion." Reluctant Partners: Art and Religion in Dialogue. Ed. E Heller. New York: The Gallery at the American Bible Society, 2004. 16-47. (Chapter)

Morgan, D. "Visual Media and the Case of Ethiopian Protestantism." =Belief in Media: Media and Christianity in a Cultural Perspective. Ed. M Hess, P Horsfield, and A Medrano. Aldershot, Hampshire, UK: Ashgate Publishing, 2004. 91-106. (Chapter)

Morgan, D. "Protestant Visual Piety and the Aesthetics of American Mass Culture." Mediating Religion: Conversations in Media, Religion and Culture. Ed. J Mitchell and S Marriage. London: T&T Clark, 2003. 107-120. (Chapter)

Morgan, D. "Protestant Visual Practice and American Mass Culture." Practicing Religion in the Age of the Media: Explorations in Media, Religion and Culture. Ed. S Hoover and L Schofield Clark. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002. 37-62. (Chapter)

Morgan, D. "The Image of Religion in American LIFE, 1936-1951." Looking at LIFE. Ed. E Doss. Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001. 139-157. (Chapter)


Meyer, B, Morgan, D, Paine, C, and Plate, SB. "Introduction: key words in material religion." Material Religion 7.1 (March 2011): 4-8. Full Text Open Access Copy

Morgan, D. "The materiality of cultural construction." Material Religion 4.2 (December 1, 2008): 228-229. Full Text

Corrigan, J, Morgan, D, Silk, M, and Williams, RH. "Forum: Electronic media and the study of American religion." Religion and American Culture 16.1 (January 1, 2006): 1-24. (Review) Full Text

Morgan, D. "Response to spackman, "reconsidering 'kitsch'"." Material Religion 1.3 (December 1, 2005): 417-419.

Morgan, D, and Keller, RK. "What evidence would prove the amyloid hypothesis? Towards rational drug treatments for Alzheimer's disease." Journal of Alzheimer'S Disease : Jad 4.3 (June 2002): 257-260.

Morgan, D. "Visual Religion." Religion 30.1 (January 2000): 41-53. Full Text

Paul, SM, Sensakovic, J, Podhurst, LS, Morgan, DH, and Triano-Davis, W. "Managing HIV/AIDS patients." New Jersey Medicine : the Journal of the Medical Society of New Jersey 95.5 (May 1998): 55-60. (Review)

Paul, SM, Cross, H, Costa, SJ, Pierce, M, Pizzuti, W, Morgan, DH, and Ziskin, LZ. "Emerging issues in AIDS: variant strains of human immunodeficiency virus and its subtypes." Mlo: Medical Laboratory Observer 30.2 (February 1998): 32-36.


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