An Interview with Prof.Lisa Marie Rollins

By Sage Reynolds

Lisa Marie Rollins contains multitudes.[1] She is a writer, director, professor, scholar, and artist. She is a Black woman who is pushing the boundaries of theater to transform reality, reject institutional frameworks that have been historically oppressive, and create new worlds that elicit a sense of belonging for all bodies that move through the world. Prof. Rollins is a theater professor at Colorado College and the block plan helps make time for both her artist self and academic self. This duality, Prof. Rollins expressed, makes her whole and full; she cannot be one without the other and thus rejects the fragmentation that academia and research can generate. Currently, a lot of her work focuses on ancestral histories; Prof. Rollins is interested in exploring and thinking about Black women excavating their own work, bodies, identities, and histories. This work mostly takes the form of playwriting. Prof. Rollins has written and directed many plays – Love is Another Country is the most recent play she wrote which reflects on the past and acknowledges the present through the navigation of Black women’s generational trauma and the systemic deaths of Black people by police. Professor Rollins’ main research question at play is: if we acknowledge how much world-making potential the theater has to offer, how do we transform reality and create one that is not based on this world?

This image is from the panel with Prof. Rollins and the directors, actors, and co-creators of “Love is Another Country.”

          Reflecting on Professor Rollins’ research/scholarship with a feminist, methodological framework in mind was not a difficult endeavor. Most of what Prof. Rollins had to say about her work and research processes was heavily informed by a feminist methodological view. As I listened to Prof. Rollins speak about how she views her work and how she wants it to be viewed and interacted with, it was clear that her research/scholarship is continually pushing, rejecting, reimagining, and critiquing traditional forms of knowledge production. Professor Rollins claims a sense of intentionality within her work, which is key to challenging the dominant methodologies of theater. She notes how her research is challenging traditional theater epistemology by using collective knowledge to create new realities while also valuing the ways that Black women have been using theater for years. I see Prof. Rollins’ scholarship as a director and playwright as resisting dominant forms of knowledge production because one of Prof. Rollins’ essential “research methods” is dreaming. I see dreaming as a contribution to feminist methodology because the institutions of academia and theater cannot control a person’s dreams – as Professor Rollins said in the interview: “I can dream all I want, you have no control over what my dreams do and what theater is for me, I can change reality if I want to” (Rollins). Dreaming as a part of research is to push against the boundaries of research and power because it takes seriously embodied, intimate, and collective forms of knowledge that come from excavating oppressive, systemic patterns. Prof. Rollins seeks to combine the theater with dreaming in order to center a work of reorientation, reimagination, and rebuilding of the structures that her work simultaneously shatters.

This work of reimagining, which is pivotal to understanding Prof. Rollins’ research/scholarship, challenges Western thought and power – knowledge from a distance – and centers embodied and collective forms of knowledge. Professor Rollins declared that she is an artist that works in collaborative ways – mentorship, providing opportunities to the theater – because she “is so interested in the ways in which other people’s minds work” (Rollins). Professor Rollins then uses this collective knowledge to think about intimacy – a form of embodied knowledge. “Love is Another Country” explores the way in which being intimate with one another can be an act of resistance because capitalism isolates humans. From a feminist methodological framework, intimacy is a form of collective and embodied knowledge to be taken seriously, and Prof. Rollins’ research/scholarship does just that.




Works Cited

Rollins, Lisa Marie. Personal Interview. 9 December 2021.

Whitman, Walt. “Song of Myself (1892 Version) .” Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation,


[1] This wording is inspired by Walt Whitman’s poem “Song of Myself.”

praise poem

By Anya Quesnel

praise the patience of co-poets piloting through this falling sky of deadlines and banklines and grief
praise the space they hold when
when the only poem i have to oer is to notice a small crack in the sidewalk and a ower growing out


praise every hand casting art into an ocean of question marks, being unafraid to reel in more questions

praise to mentors who agree that some waters are unnavigable, some pain unmendable,
who do not oer balm but a place to sit and cry


bless big sibling love
bless being born by the same strained love that we might talk about it and make dierent mistakes

bless the love that blues me
bless the love that is holding a door, sharing a song


praise to the biggest small blessings
how we make alters out of each other and give ourselves god and breakfast

bless the rugs we make into dance clubs
and the books we see ourselves in


somehow, praise the windstorm
that lay down the blue spruce whose roots aren’t supposed to root here

like so many of us aren’t supposed to root here
yet, praise this prairie cut up by highway and hotel
praise the spirits concrete can’t kill


and yes, bless the squirrels

because they make z smile

How has FGS Shaped Your Time at CC?

By Anya Quesnel

Every class I have taken in the FGS program has been an important stepping stone in my personal development. FGS classes push me academically and emotionally and are spaces in which I learn language to articulate who I am and what I care about. The FGS program has in many ways anchored me during my time at Colorado College. The critical lenses I have been exposed to help me to express the tensions I feel and see here and, ideally, move through this campus more actively, creatively and aware of the vastly different ways we experience CC depending on who we are.

I am very grateful that my first class at CC (then called FYE) was Dr. Heidi R. Lewis’ Introduction to Feminist and Gender Studies. Under Dr. Lewis’ instruction, I understood the importance of good citational practices and understanding the responsibilities of being a newcomer to any academic field. For me, this course informed everything that came after it, both in and outside of the classroom. I felt a similar consequential shift in block one of this semester after taking Critical Disability Studies with Dr. Nadia Guessous. In as least fluffy terms I can use to describe what FGS classes have done for me, they have made it such that I cannot unsee the world.

Given how strongly I feel about the impact of the FGS department during my time at this college, I was curious about the experiences of my peers. I connected with a few FGS-affiliated students at different stages in their CC careers to find out more about the impact these classes have had on their experiences on campus and beyond:

Sage Reynolds, Senior FGS major, Content Creator at the Monthly Rag

Sage says that FGS encourages her not to take her peers, professors and other members of the CC community for granted.

“FGS has helped me move through the world with a propensity to ask questions, to critique my own knowledge and to curate a curiosity about the instruction of this knowledge. FGS has helped me exist at CC in a thoughtful way- a way in which I think about how I am positioned in this institution and outside of it.”

Lena Fleischer, Junior, Computer Science Major

Although Lena has not yet taken a FGS class, she feels the impact of the department on wider campus culture.

“FGS feels present to me on this campus. The language of ‘I hear you’, ‘I see you’ and people who are really thoughtful about listening to people’s experiences… I think there’s a big theme of listening at CC and I feel like this is a skill that’s nourished by the FGS department. Sometimes I feel like FemGem gets a bad rep because people think that to be critical all the time is a negative thing. Some of the smartest people at this school are FemGen people!”

Pardes Lyons-Warren, Senior, FGS Major

Pardes believes that FGS classes have influenced every sphere of their life at CC and find themselves more critical and attuned to the ways power structures co-create campus culture. They also find that what they have learnt in FGS classes particularly anchors them in other classes.

“I feel empowered to identify and call out instances of inequity and oppression in many CC spaces. FGS classes have given me compassion in academics and helped me to find ways to decolonize my own areas of intellect. FGS has shaped everything from my writing style to what I consider “appropriate” to turn in for an essay to how to treat my brain and how to have beautiful discussions.”

Daniel De Koning, Junior, Film Major

Daniel took LGBTQ Social Movements in the United States with Dr. Rushaan Kumar. As part of the class he worked on the Colorado Springs LGBTQ+ Oral History Project.

“I learned a lot about the processes of interviewing and archiving, especially the importance of treating interviewees as people, not as subjects we need to complete a project. I appreciated working together with my classmate Zivia, who became a good friend. I was excited to see the final project in its finished state, it felt good to know that we participated in the making of such an important archive.”

Saluja Siwakoti, Alum, FGS Minor

Saluja graduated from CC in 2021. She reflects that the transition into post college life has been a challenge, especially coming from intentionally caring spaces like FGS.

“This is the everyday work: to be cognizant of the stakes of my words, my actions, my communities, my priorities have in the world and I think FGS gave me the tools to identify those things. I feel like the classes I’ve taken with Dr. Guessous, Dr. Kumar and Dr. Lewis stick with me every day. I wish I could run back to CC and sit in on a class with intentional people and professors. We don’t just learn about feminist epistomologies- FGS challenges us to live them everyday. We come to realize that our voices, our intuition, our vulnerability matter and our care matter and that we are doing labour by coming together and thinking in these ways. FGS helps me imagine the world I want to live in. My next step is to really trust the education FGS provided me with and go with what my heart says: to prioritize my communities and the things that bring me joy.”

It goes without saying that I encourage anyone reading this who has not yet taken an FGS to do so – not so that you can say you took an FGS class and feel feministy but so that you give yourself an opportunity to be deeply moved and be left with the question what now?