The Commune, 1871: Present, Past, and Back Again
The following essay seeks to take historiographical stock of some of the shifting narratives around the 1871 Commune over the past 150 years: what are the implications of its recuperation into more or less official Republican historiography? Which narratives or stories about the event have faded from view and which readings seem to occupy our disciplinary foreground? Is there a historiographical consensus about what the Commune was (or seems to mean today)? And what, finally, might we say as historians about the conceptual and political resonances of the Paris Commune for contemporary struggles for democracy, equality, solidarity across class, race, gender, and geographical divides? Ultimately it is this very multiplexity at the heart of the Commune—the sheer range of dynamic questions it raises or names as a kind of “historical expression of possibility”—that is of such keen interest to us today.