Welcome back to Week 6 of LA COMMUNE 2021, a virtual free school experience hosted by Roxanne Panchasi (a.k.a. RP) in collaboration with UNIT/PITT Society for Art and Critical Awareness. If you’re just joining us this week, you might want to take a look at the content from the previous five weeks to help get you situated. You can also dip into and out of the content as you like, in whatever order appeals to you. Free really means free!

The Paris Commune erupted in the spring of 1871 following more than a century of political, social, and economic transformation in France. After months of war and siege, the French capital’s working-class population rose up in March, holding elections, and forming their own government. The revolutionaries of the Commune attempted a complete overhaul of all aspects of life in the city. Instituting political and economic reforms, they also pursued a program of universal public education, the separation of church and state, and the promotion of a radical culture.


Our free school TIMELINE includes a number of key events that may help to situate events chronologically and within the broader history of nineteenth-century France. We’ll be adding dates to the timeline each week, following events from March through May as we go.

RADIO 1871 

Each week of LA COMMUNE 2021 is anchored around an episode of radio 1871, an audio series created for a seminar in History at Simon Fraser University in 2021 with subsequent release via this free school in mind.

Dr. Michelle Coghlan is RP’s special guest in this week’s episode focused on INTERNATIONALISM. Michelle is a Senior Lecturer in American Literature at the University of Manchester in the UK. She specializes in nineteenth and twentieth century American literature and culture with a particular emphasis on radical print culture and memory, the literary life of the senses, and food studies. She is the author of Sensational Internationalism: The Paris Commune and the Remapping of American Memory in the Long Nineteenth Century, an open access book published by Edinburgh University Press in 2016. Michelle and RP discuss American responses to the Commune, especially in literary texts and popular culture. The readings and resources on offer this week emphasize literature, poetry, and song.


Victor Hugo, “The Boy on the Barricade,” Poems, by Victor Hugo (1888; Project Gutenberg, August, 2005)

J. Michelle Coghlan, Sensational Internationalism: The Paris Commune and the Remapping of American Memory in the Long Nineteenth Century (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016) *Click the “Download Url(s)” link on the left-hand side of the webpage to download the PDF*

Clint Burnham, Stephen Collis, Mercedes Eng, Ray Hsu, Reg Johanson, Kim Minkus, Cecily Nicholson and Rita Wong, “La Commune: To the Barricades,” West Coast Line,71 (Fall 2011)

Kevin Potter, ““Resist Much, Obey Little”: Walt Whitman and the Paris Commune,” Roar, (March 26, 2021)

Poem by Barry Tebb, “The Paris Commune,” (Friday, December 22, 2017) 

Poem by Thomas Coston, “Paris Commune of 1871,” (Sunday Jan 12, 2020)

FILM: The Internationale, dir. Peter Miller (2000)

William Morris, “Why We Celebrate the Paris Commune,” Tribune, (March 18, 2021) 

Zoe Beloff’s adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s play, The Days of the Commune: In Solidarity with Occupy Wall Street (2012)


Don’t forget to check out the HAPPENINGS & HEADS-UPs section! 

The section also includes information about other Paris Commune-related & Commune-spirited events taking place in various sites during the period of the Free School.

We are especially excited to have a LA COMMUNE 2021 event coming up on Thursday April 22nd: “Poems for the Paris Commune, an evening of readings and discussion with Cecily Nicholson, Mercedes Eng, and Stephen Collis.

Click the image above to register on Eventbrite!