We will examine the historical circumstances of the Paris Commune of 1871, including what led up to this important moment in revolutionary history. The class will begin with a general overview and discussion, leading into an examination of the various radicals, artists and writers who were alive at the time - both those in support of the status quo, or radically participatory or in solidarity with the Commune. We will also pay special attention to women revolutionaries involved in the Commune. Figures include, but are not limited to, Louise Michel and other women of the Commune, Blanqui (in prison at the time), Rimbaud, Verlaine, Baudelaire, Courbet, the Goncourt Brothers, and the man who socially engineered Paris, reinventing and creating a new, socially-controlled template for "the city" worldwide, Georges Eugène Haussmann. Feel free to read up on the Commune on Wikipedia ahead of time if you like (optional). In the first class, we will cover the complicated and fascinating recent history of France leading up to 1871, and providing the groundwork for the next few classes.
On April 18th, we'll delve deeper into the Commune - how did it work? What happened in Paris during those two months. We'll continue our discussion about the clubs and guilds, specifically the women's clubs where women demanded equal rights in their new society. Brandon Brown will take us through the art of Courbet. And we'll ask ourselves, should Notre Dame have been destroyed? Or were some of the artists right to defend it? Also, an exciting beginning examination of the poet Rimbaud.