Meghan M. Shea


This interdisciplinary seminar examines human dimensions of current ocean issues through a series of readings, discussions, and guest lecturer presentations. Through the lenses offered by multiple disciplines and fields, we will examine and reinterpret the challenges of fisheries management, climate change, conservation/restoration, and human rights. We will welcome specialists in industry, academia, law, and the nonprofit sector to discuss theories of change for ocean issues, with a particular emphasis on marine justice. We invite students to create and share their own “Social Ocean Project” synthesizing course themes and personal reflections.

Co-Designer and Instructor with Caroline Ferguson in Spring 2020 (View Syllabus)

Co-Designer and Instructor with Rachel Carlson in Winter 2021 (View Syllabus)

“Stanford University is filled with dedicated, wonderful professors and instructors. Despite this, Meghan and Caroline stand out to me. I’ve never had instructors so willing to meet with students and talk to them about anything! My life is truly different because of these two remarkable individuals.”

“Meghan and Caroline did an excellent job making the most out of Zoom and helping create a safe and reflective discussion space despite the technological/logistical limitations of this quarter.”

The Anthropocene designates the present geological epoch, in which humans have irreversibly changed planet Earth, with impacts discernible in the atmosphere, biosphere, and more. The term has also become a “charismatic mega-category” in the humanities and social sciences, where some critique the very concept, while others focus on how power dynamics, political economy, racial capitalism, and human/non-human relations manifest–and often accelerate–Anthropocenic transformations. This PhD-level course dives into these debates, drawing on work in a wide range of fields in the humanities, social sciences, arts, and natural science (the latter with works accessible to non-expert audiences). The course involves considerable reading. Written assignments will be varied and often experimental. The format of the final assignment will be flexible, with options that can be adapted to the needs and interests of individual students.

Co-Designer and Course Assistant with Dr. Gabrielle Hecht in Fall 2022 (View Syllabus)

Humans have long shaped and reshaped the natural world with science and technology. Once a menacing presence to conquer or an infinite reserve for resources, nature is now understood to require constant protection from damage and loss. Global challenges such as climate change have been further forcing us to reconsider our fundamental ideas not only about nature, but also about ethics and justice. This course will examine humanity’s varied relationships with the environment, with a focus on the role of science and technology. Topics include: industrialization and modernism, diversity in environmentalism, environmental justice and inequalities, climate politics, global-local tensions, nuclear technology, the Anthropocene debate, and COVID-19 and the environment. Students will explore theoretical and methodological approaches in STS and related fields in social sciences, and conduct original research that engages with environmental issues of their choice. Enrollment limited to juniors and seniors, or with consent of instructor.

Teaching Assistant with Dr. Kyoko Sato in Spring 2022


  • Stanford Women’s Community Center Women in STEM Mentoring Program | Mentor | 2019-2021
  • Mentor to Team eDNA Research Collaborators 


  • Stanford Center for Teaching & Learning Graduate Course Design Institute 2020