David Morgan

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

Selected Grants

Material Religion: State of the Art awarded by Henry Luce Foundation, Inc. (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)

Morgan, D. The Forge of Vision: A Visual History of Modern Christianity. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015. (Monograph)

Morgan, D. The Embodied Eye: Religious Visual Culture and the Social Life of Feeling. University of California Press, 2012.

Religion and Material Culture: The Matter of Belief. Ed. D Morgan. London: Routledge, 2010. (Edited Book)

Morgan, D. The Sacred Heart of Jesus: The Visual Evolution of a Devotion. Amsterdam University Press, 2008.

Re-enchantment. Ed. D Morgan and J Elkins. New York: Routledge, 2008. (Edited Book)


Van Rompay, L, Miglarese, S, and Morgan, D. "Epilogue." The Long Shadow of Vatican II: Living Faith and Negotiating Authority Since the Second Vatican Council. January 1, 2015. 128-137.

Morgan, D. "The Senses in Religion: Migrations of Sacred and Sensory Values." A Cultural History of the Senses. Ed. JP Toner, C Classen, AC Vila, RG Newhauser, and D Howes. London: Berg, December 1, 2014. 89-111. (Chapter)

Morgan, D. "The Image of the Protestant Bible in America." The Bible in the Public Square. Ed. MA Chancey, C Meyers, and EM Meyers. Society of Biblical Literature, July 21, 2014. 93-120. (Chapter)

Morgan, D. "Reflection: Religious tracts in the eighteenth century." Media, Religion and Culture: An Introduction. January 1, 2014. 84-85.

Morgan, D. "Kimsooja and the Art of Place." Kimsooja: Unfolding. Vancouver Art Gallery, 2013. 115-123.

Morgan, D. "Art, Material Culture, and Lived Religion." The Oxford Handbook of Religion and the Arts. Ed. FB Brown. Oxford University Press, 2013. (Chapter)

Morgan, D. "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. 90-111. (Chapter)

Morgan, D. "The Look of the Sacred." Cambridge Companion to Religious Studies. Ed. RA Orsi. Cambridge University Press, 2012. 296-318. (Chapter)

Morgan, D. "Religion and Visuality in America: Material Economies of the Sacred." Cambridge History of Religions in America, 3 vols. Ed. S Stein. Cambridge University Press, 2012. 748-780. (Chapter)

Morgan, D. "Thomas Kinkade and the History of Protestant Visual Culture in America." Thomas Kinkade: The Artist in the Mall. Duke University Press, 2011. 29-53. (Chapter)


Morgan, D. "The subject in question." Journal of Material Culture 22.4 (December 2017): 476-484. Full Text

Morgan, D. "Defining the sacred in fine art and devotional imagery." Religion 47.4 (October 2, 2017): 641-662. Full Text

Morgan, D. "The Visual Piety of the Sacred Heart." Material Religion 13.2 (April 3, 2017): 233-236. Full Text

Morgan, D. "The Practicality of Votive Culture." Material Religion 13.1 (January 2, 2017): 110-112. Full Text

Morgan, D. "The Material Culture of Divination." Material Religion 12.4 (October 27, 2016): 505-506. Full Text

Morgan, D. "Divination, Material Culture, and Chance." Material Religion 12.4 (October 27, 2016): 502-504. Full Text

Morgan, D. "Saints and Sacred Matter: the Cult of Relics in Byzantium and Beyond." Material Religion 12.4 (October 27, 2016): 524-525. Full Text

Morgan, D. "Materializing the study of religion." Religion 46.4 (October 2016): 640-643. Full Text

Morgan, D. "On the nature of collecting." Material Religion 12.3 (July 27, 2016): 375-377. Full Text

Morgan, D. "Missionaries and Idols in Polynesia." Material Religion 12.2 (April 2, 2016): 248-248. Full Text


Morgan, D. "Temples for a modern god: religious architecture in postwar America." Choice Reviews Online 51.01 (September 1, 2013): 51-0093-51-0093. (Review) Full Text

Morgan, D. "Review of Christ to Coke: How Image Becomes Icon by Martin Kemp." Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art and Belief 9.1 (March 1, 2013): 121-122. (Review) Full Text

Morgan, D. "Violence and Memory." The Revealer (May 12, 2011). (Essay)

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

Morgan, D. "The Emotional Technology of Evangelicalism." American Art 25 (2011): 13-15. (Essay)

Morgan, D, Meyer, B, Paine, C, and Plate, SB. "The Origin and Mission of Material Religion." Religion 30 (2010): 1-5. (Essay)

Morgan, D. "Liberty and Liberty Together." (June 10, 2009). (Essay)

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. (Review)

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