Name: Hollis France
Hometown: Born in Guyana, South America
Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science from Jersey City State (College of New Jersey); Ph.D. and M.Phil. in political science from the Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY).
Job title: Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science
How long have you worked at the College? 21 years
What are your job responsibilities? First and foremost, I am excited that I still get to teach in the chair’s position. I teach one class each semester. Much of the chair’s job is administrative, which means making sure that everything runs smoothly in the department for students, faculty and staff. That can range from scheduling classes and department meetings to addressing concerns and advocating on behalf of faculty, staff and students.
What do you like most about your job? Co-imagining possible futures for the department. Being at the helm of the department, it is exciting to identify and marshal faculty talents to co-create opportunities for our majors. Having the support of faculty and administrative staff makes navigating the chair’s position worthwhile.
What question do you get asked most in your job and what’s your typical answer? I still get the question, “How do you like being chair?” The short answer: “It has its euphoric and trying days.” Long answer: I embrace both the euphoric and trying days as learning opportunities. I quickly recognized coming into this position that I had to expand my lens beyond my narrow interests as a faculty member. I had to become nimble, shifting and pivoting between faculty, student, staff, department, school and institutional needs.
What’s your favorite location on campus and why? Cougar Mall! I like that space both when it’s busy with students moving to and from classes, and when it is pretty much deserted of people. With students moving around it feels like you are at the heart of the College, and it brings a sense of energy to campus. I also like walking through Cougar Mall when there is no one around. It allows me to reflect and feel a sense of connectedness to all earthbeings (non-human and human) that pass(ed) through and contributed to creating and maintaining this space. I am consistently in awe, humbled and thankful for the diligent and conscientious work applied by the groundskeeping folks!
What are your hobbies? I look forward to playing tennis once a week.
What personal and/or professional accomplishment are you most proud of? I am a member of the worker-owned cooperative the Transformative Teaching Collective (TTC), which centers on social justice praxis. The work I do via the collective intersects with my research and teaching, challenging colonially produced oppressive power hierarchies and co-creating restorative, inclusive and equitable pathways. The TTC’s recent work learning with the Indigenous Wapichan Wiizi Women’s Movement in the South Rupununi of Guyana on building gender fluency is inspirational and humbling.
Name a creative work (book, movie, performance, etc.) you enjoyed recently and why? Over the summer, via the recommendation of (English professor) Simon Lewis, I enjoyed reading the lyrically written words in Hazel Carby’s, Imperial Intimacies. Born to a Welch mother and Jamaican father, Carby does an exquisite job of excavating and centering people, places and events often made invisible in celebratory imperialist narratives. Carby’s work also furthers my interests regarding brewing national debates, in the U.K. and beyond, surrounding questions of belonging and “othering.”
What was your favorite TV show growing up? Charlie’s Angels and A Different World
What’s next on your bucket list? Challenging myself to learn Spanish and learning to play the card game bridge.
What is something your campus colleagues would be surprised to know about you? My penchant for British TV crime dramas
What was your first job? Working for a small family owed sneaker store in Wayne, New Jersey.
What’s your favorite Lowcountry restaurant? Love hanging out and eating at Chico Feo on Folly Beach.
Describe your perfect day: Waking up and going for a run just as the sun is rising. Sunrises remind me of new beginnings and possibilities.
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