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The Paris Commune: A New History

Sat, April 8 @ 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Free – $12.00

A video of this March 13, 2023, event is available on the MEP’s YouTube channel.

Carolyn J. Eichner and Mitch Abidor discuss Eichner’s new book, The Paris Commune: A Brief History. Her compelling account “makes a complicated event understandable and vivid. Eichner’s rich portraits bring to life the freedom and empowerment the Communards experienced, juxtaposed with the bloody repression of its final days.” (Sarah Fishman, author of From Vichy to the Sexual Revolution: Gender and Family Life in Postwar France)

At dawn on March 18, 1871, Parisian women stepped between cannons and French soldiers, using their bodies to block the army from taking the artillery from their working-class neighborhood. When ordered to fire, the troops refused and instead turned and arrested their leaders. Thus began the Paris Commune, a 72-day conflict that ended with the ferocious slaughter of communards by French troops. The Commune stands as a critical and pivotal moment in nineteenth-century history, as the linchpin between revolutionary pasts and futures, and as a crucible allowing glimpses of alternate possibilities. Upending hierarchies of class, religion, and gender, the Commune emerged as a touchstone for the subsequent century-and-a-half of revolutionary and radical social movements.

The Paris Commune: A Brief HistoryCarolyn J. Eichner teaches in the Departments of History and Women’s & Gender Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Her books include Surmounting the Barricades: Women in the Paris Commune and Feminism’s Empire.

Mitch Abidor is the editor and translator of Voices of the Paris Commune and Communards. A contributing writer for Jewish Currents, his articles have also appeared in the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, Dissent, and many other publications.


The Paris Commune: A Brief History is available from Rutgers University Press.


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