How can it be Week 7 already?! Welcome back to 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 six 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.

This week’s episode focuses on colonialism and resistance in ALGERIA. Listen to RP’s conversation with Dr. Arthur Asseraf, a historian of modern France, North Africa, and the Mediterranean with particular interests in the history of colonialism and information. Arthur is a Lecturer in the History of France and the Francophone World and Fellow of Pembroke College at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of Electric News in Colonial Algeria, (Oxford University Press, 2019).

Check out Arthur’s amazing Twitter thread about the 1871 revolt in Algeria here:


Vladimir Borisovich Lutksy, “Algeria in 1870 and 1914: Republican Opposition in Algeria,” Translated by Lika Nasser, edited by Robert Daglish, (Progress Publishers, 1969)    

Les Amies et Amis de la Commune de Paris 1871, “La Commune de Paris et l’Algérie,” (April 13, 2021) 

Neil MacMaster, “The Roots of Insurrection: The Role of the Algerian Village Assembly (Djemâa) in Peasant Resistance, 1863-1962.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 55, no. 2 (2013) [Register for a free account at JSTOR to read up to 100 sources per month, including this one!]

Julia Nicholls, “Empire and Internationalism in French Revolutionary Socialist Thought, 1871-1885,” The Historical Journal, 59 (4) (2016)

Isabelle Merle, “Algérien en Nouvelle-Calédonie: Le Destin Calédonian du déporté Ahmed Ben Mezrag Ben Mokrani,” L’Année du Maghreb (2019) [an abstract of the article is available in English]

Massimiliano Tomba, “The Paris Commune and the Poetry of the Unknown”, Uprising 13/13 (April 20, 2018)


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.