David Morgan

Professor of Religious Studies

External Address: 
Department of Religion, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
Box 90964, Durham, NC 27708-0964
(919) 660-3555


David Morgan is Professor of Religious Studies with a secondary appointment in the Department of Art, Art History, and Visual Studies at Duke. He also 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, will appear in 2018 from 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."

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of Chicago 1990

  • M.A., University of Arizona 1984

  • B.A., Concordia College 1980

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)

Morgan, D. "For Christ and the Republic: Religious Illustration and the History of Literacy in Nineteenth-Century America." The Visual Culture of American Religions. Ed. D Morgan and SM Promey. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001. 49-67. (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

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. "The materiality of cultural construction." MATERIAL RELIGION 4.2 (July 2008): 228-229. Full Text

Morgan, D. "Exhibition review: The critical view." Material Religion 3.1 (December 1, 2007): 135-143. Full Text

CORRIGAN, JOHN, MORGAN, DAVID, SILK, MARK, and WILLIAMS, RHYSH. "Forum: Electronic Media and the Study of American Religion." Religion and American Culture 16.1 (January 2006): 1-24. Full Text

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

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


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