PM Press Blog

La Commune 2021— Free Virtual School on the Paris Commune

From March 18th through early June 2021, writer and scholar Roxanne Panchasi will be hosting a virtual free school focused on the Paris Commune of 1871 in collaboration with UNIT/PITT Society for Art and Critical Awareness. 

Lasting 10-12 weeks, the free school will be open to the wider public. Anyone can participate by taking in the content shared each week, by attending online events (including screenings, discussions, and presentations by special guests, etc.). Participants can follow the whole of the school’s run and/or drop in to check out specific materials or happenings on offer. How much or how little of the free school experience participants engage with is entirely up to them. Free in this instance means without charge, but also without course/attendance requirements, assignments, grades or participant evaluation of any kind.

About Week 1

Bienvenue/Welcome to week 1 of LA COMMUNE 2021, a virtual free school experience hosted by Dr. Roxanne Panchasi (a.k.a. RP) in collaboration with UNIT/PITT Society for Art and Critical Awareness.

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.

This first week of the free school is focused on the period leading up to March 18th, 1871, what is commonly understood to be the beginning of the Paris Commune. This was the day that people in the French capital resisted the removal of the cannon protecting the city. The Versailles government headed by Adolphe Thiers had sent in troops to disarm Paris and this was the first of many subsequent confrontations over the next two and a half months.