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Morgan Seag, BA, MPhil

Morgan Seag, BA, MPhil

PhD Student, Gates Cambridge Scholar

Morgan studies scientific institutions, gender, and policy in Antarctica


Morgan's research interests center on science, policy, and social change in international spaces. In broad terms, she is interested in the human side of these shared spaces: how are they used? by whom? to what end? More specifically, her PhD research at SPRI examines scientific institutions in Antarctica, asking how they have evolved to become more gender inclusive over time.

Morgan became interested in the polar regions during the austral summers of 2011-12 and 2012-13, when she worked for the US Antarctic Program at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Her PhD research also builds upon undergraduate training in political science at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as career experiences in science outreach and international education/arts consulting.


  • PhD in Geography/Polar Studies, University of Cambridge, expected 2019
  • MPhil in Geography/Polar Studies, with distinction, University of Cambridge, 2015
  • BA in Political Science (minors in African Studies, French), summa cum laude, University of Pennsylvania, 2008


Morgan's PhD research examines women's integration into Antarctic field science in the mid-twentieth century. Focusing on the US Antarctic Program (USAP) and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) as case studies, this research interrogates the conditions that sustained exclusionary policies toward women and the processes that impelled women's eventual integration into Antarctic fieldwork. Her research attends to the construction of extreme environments; the influence of social movements and legal structures in remote spaces; the role of internationalism in science; and the relationship between formal and informal processes of change. This research offers a unique perspective on the relationship between gender, science, and the state, and sheds light on a previously unexamined aspect of equal opportunities for women. Research is based on archival analysis and interviews.

As part of this research, Morgan is conducting an oral history project that documents the stories of the first generation of women to work in Antarctica, along with other pioneering women in the Antarctic science and support communities.

Morgan's broad research interests include: History and sociology of science; feminist theory; political geography; institutional change; environmental history; global commons; frontier spaces


Selected publications:

  • Seag, M. (2017). Women need not apply: gendered institutional change in Antarctica and Outer Space. The Polar Journal, 7(2), 319-335.
  • Bonetti, M. & Seag, M. (eds.) (2010). Through African Eyes: Conversations with the Directors. New York: African Film Festival, Inc.

External activities

  • Council Member, International Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS), 2017-present
  • Co-Convenor and Moderator, Polar Social Sciences Workshop, 2016-present
  • Associate Editor, The Scholar (Gates Cambridge magazine) , 2016-present
  • Committee member, Learning for Purpose (Gates Cambridge), 2016-present