INTERSTICES: An Interdisciplinary Series

INTERSTICES: An Interdisciplinary Series

» INTERSTICES: An Interdisciplinary Series

INTERSTICES: (noun) \in-‘tər- stəs\
An intervening space, especially a very small one: sunshine filtered through the interstices of the arching trees.

The Interstices series is a set of themed events and discussions that examine the cross-sections or rather “intersection” of ideas/ topical issues. The series is about expressing differences, launching new ways of thinking, exploring connections, and moving towards knowing something more about who we are. The aim to create a provocative and lively discussion involving faculty, students, and visiting speakers.

Previous Guests:

  • Cheryl Strayed - New York Times Bestselling Author
  • Academy Award Nominated Screenwriter, Keir Pearson
  • Pico Iyer, Chapman Presidential Fellow and Renowned Journalist
  • Lord John Alderdice, ARTIS (Europe) President and Chairman and Director for the Centre of Democracy and Peace Building
  • Professor Stella Bruzzi, FBA, University of Warwick Director of Research for Film and Television

Past Events:

Fall 2015:
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? -Mary Oliver

On Tuesday, September 29, members from both the Chapman and Orange communities lined up to hear New York Times bestselling author, Cheryl Strayed, share her experience hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. The audience, which was one of the largest Chapman has had, was captivated as Strayed spoke with warmth and intelligence both challenging and empowering those present. She was joined on stage by an interdisciplinary panel discussing questions such as; how do we retain wildness in ourselves; how do we stay in touch with those things that allow us to take risks, change patterns, and see the world differently; and what effect does the wilderness have on us? The evening’s event was proceeded by a series of micro-events which included opportunities for both students and alumni to hike a small portion of the PCT, join a book club, and share their photos and stories in an Instagram and/or essay competition. To read stories shared by alumni on how nature has impacted their lives visit the alumni blog post, Call of the Wild: Alumni Stories.


  • Cheryl Strayed, New York Times Bestselling Author of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
  • Claudine Jaenichen, Associate Professor, Wilkinson College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Georges Van Den Abbeele, Dean of the School of Humanities, University of California, Irvine
  • Kelli Fuery, Assistant Professor, Dodge College of Film and Media Arts
  • Whitney McIntyre Miller, Assistant Professor, College of Educational Studies

Spring 2015:
The In-Betweeness of Ethics
…for there is nothing/ either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” – Hamlet

The highlight of this year’s event was its diverse panel which included an author, a politician, a documentary filmmaker and political scientist. Together they discussed issues surrounding ethics, and addressed questions such as, how do we know when we are doing the right thing, is the right thing even possible, and who gets to decide what the right thing is?  The panelists explored how different disciplines might work together to build a stronger, more effective way of engaging in complex issues. The audience was seated in groups and was offered a set of ethical problems posed by the host. They were then tasked with coming to a consensus within their group and reporting their decision to the larger group. The topic was then opened to both the wider audience and the panelists for discussion. The conversation was both lively and enlightening for all.


  • Lord John Alderdice, ARTIS (EUROPE) President and Chairman and Director for the Center of Democracy and Peace Building
  • Pico Iyer, Renowned Journalist
  • Stella Bruzzi, FBA, University of Warwick Director of Research for Film and Television
  • Crystal Murphy, PH.D., Assistant Professor of International Studies and Political Science

Spring 2014:
An Exploration in Creativity (Inaugural)
“I could not contemplate with any sort of comfort a life without work. Creative imagination and work go together in me; I take no delight in anything else” –Freud

Interstices was conceived by Wilkinson College Dean Patrick Fuery, who imagined a forum where key figures, thinkers, and leaders from across disciplines could engage in thought provoking conversation on ideas and topics, launching new ways of thinking, exploring connections and moving towards knowing something more about ourselves. Creativity is more than the process of creating. It is about problem solving, risk taking, letting go of old patterns and set ways of doing things. It is about exploring different possibilities. Creativity manifests differently individual to individual; recognizing when and how you are being creative is part of the challenge. By nature people are creative; learning to identify our unique expressions of creativity can be a lifelong journey in constant motion. The first ever Interstices was conducted workshop style, and allowed for participants to look within at their own processes of creativity and even provided them opportunity to build their own creative map.


  • Pico Iyer, Renowned Journalist
  • Keir Pearson, Academy Award Nominated Screenwriter
  • Michelle Miller-Day, Professor of Communication Studies
  • Daniele Struppa, Chapman Chancellor and Mathematician
  • Jocelyn Buckner, Theatre Historian

Photos from the 2013-2014 event

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