Religion and media: A critical review of recent developments



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© 2013, © The Author(s) 2013 Reprints and permissions: This article considers recent changes in the definition of religion and of media as the basis for framing the study of their relation to one another and recent research in the intersection they have come to form over the last two decades or so. The history, materiality, and reception of each have colored scholarly work, and made ethnography, practice, material culture, and embodiment key aspects of scholarship. A new paradigm for some scholars for studying mediation is aesthetics—no longer understood as the “philosophy of the beautiful,” but as the study of perception in the mediated practices that make up lived religion.






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Morgan, D (2013). Religion and media: A critical review of recent developments. Critical Research on Religion, 1(3). 10.1177/2050303213506476 Retrieved from

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David Morgan

Professor of Religious Studies

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 and has returned to chairing it from 2023 to 2025. Morgan received the Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1990. He has served twice as Director of Graduate Studies in Duke's PhD program in Religion. Morgan 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 associate 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. His latest book appeared this year from the University of North Carolina Press, entitled "The Thing about Religion: An Introduction to the Material Study of Religions." He is currently at work on a new book project entitled "The Art of Seeing Things: A History of Revelation in Christian Visual Culture since the Middle Ages."

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