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Symposium. "The Commune at 150”

When: Tuesday, November 2, 2021, 9:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Where: The Royal Foundation of St Katharine (London)

This conference brings together scholars from a range of disciplines to explore the political and artistic legacies of the Paris Commune.

This event celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune. It brings together scholars specialising in literature, the visual arts, material culture, political theory, and more, for an interdisciplinary exploration of the Commune’s ongoing political and cultural significance. The conference also hopes to reinvigorate wider cross-disciplinary debates about the generative logic of insurrectionary events as well as about the formation of radical traditions.

The event will consist of four panels and a concluding roundtable.

Confirmed participants include Mark Allison (Ohio Wesleyan), David A. Shafer (California State), Isobel Armstrong (Birkbeck), Mark Steven (Exeter), Constance Bantman (Surrey), Matthew Beaumont (UCL), Antony Taylor (Sheffield Hallam), Owen Holland (UCL), Kristin Grogan (Rutgers), Clare Pettitt (KCL), Scott McCracken (QMUL), Julia Nicholls (KCL), Terence Renaud (Yale), Patrick Bray (UCL), Ruth Kinna (Loughborough), Esther Leslie (Birkbeck), Adrian Rifkin (Dutch Art Institute), Kristin Ross (NYU).

Organizers: Charlotte Jones (QMUL) and Benjamin Kohlmann (Regensburg)

Supported by the Leverhulme Trust, the Raphael Samuel History Centre, and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).


Welcome 9:15 - 9:30

Panel 1: Politics & Aesthetics 9:30 - 11:15

Mark Allison (Ohio Wesleyan): 'The Commune: Marx's English Utopia?'

David A. Shafer (California State): 'Regeneration and Degeneration: Literary and Caricatural Conceptions of the Paris Commune'

Isobel Armstrong (Birkbeck): ’The Aesthetic is Political: Experiments in the Community’

Mark Steven (Exeter): 'Defend the City: Urbanzing Class War'

Refreshment break 11:15 - 11:45

Panel 2: Aftermaths/Afterlives 11:45 - 13:15

Owen Holland (UCL): 'James "B.V." Thomson and the Melancholy of Defeat'

Kristin Grogan (Rutgers): title tbc

Clare Pettitt (KCL): '"That hope fulfilled for a little" (William Morris The Pilgrims of Hope, 1885-1886): The Ephemeral Politics of the Idyll'

Lunch break 13:15 - 14:15

Panel 3: Revolutionary Reverberations 14:15 - 15:45

Scott McCracken (QMUL): ‘Anecdotes of Defeat: Brecht and Communard Aesthetics’

Julia Nicholls (KCL): 'Thinking Revolution after the Paris Commune'

Terence Renaud (Yale): 'The Communard Imaginary in May 1968'

Refreshment break 15:45 - 16:00

Panel 4: Communard Internationalism 16:00 - 17:30

Constance Bantman (Surrey): 'Paris and London as Palimpsests of the Commune for the French Anarchists, 1880-90s'

Matthew Beaumont (UCL): 'Polyform Film: Peter Watkins and the Paris Commune'

Antony Taylor (Sheffield Hallam): 'Commemorating and Remembering the Paris Commune in 'a world apart': Memories of the Paris Commune in Australia and New Zealand'

Refreshment break 17:30 - 17:45

Roundtable: From Mobilisation to Memory 17:45 - 19:00

Chair: Adrian Rifkin (Dutch Art Institute)

Patrick Bray (UCL)

Ruth Kinna (Loughborough)

Esther Leslie (Birkbeck)

Kristin Ross (NYU)

The event is a part of our Aftermaths series.

Please note that there is no registration fee but that due to Covid restrictions attendance is limited to registered participants.

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