By: Justin Worthing ~Staff Writer~
Yale University history professor John Merriman will speak in the Conaton Board Room about the 1871 massacre of the Paris Commune. The topic will cover the subject material of his new book “Massacre: The Life and Death of the Paris Commune,” which will be released on Dec. 9.
Merriman’s talk, which will take place on Nov. 6, will focus on the municipal council organized by Parisians in 1871 for the purpose of self-governance. Many Parisians disapproved of the national government, especially at the end of the Franco-Prussian War, and instead allowed the Commune to rule Paris beginning March 18, 1871.
Most of Merriman’s talk will examine the Commune’s end during “The Bloody Week” that occured from May 21 – 28 in 1871. During this time soldiers from the national government entered Paris with the purpose of regaining national control of the city. Fighting concluded on May 28 with 20,000 Parisian deaths and national control regained.
Rachel Chrastil of Xavier’s history department is organizing the event, which is sponsored by the Brueggeman Center, the Philosophy, Politics and the Public Honors Program, the Department of History, the Department of Political Science, International Studies, the Department of Classics and Modern Languages and the University Scholars Program. Chrastil encouraged her former advisor to speak at Xavier because she believes the topic is relevant to how society engages in discourse today.
“I think (the Paris Commune) helps us to appreciate the many possibilities for civil conflict,” Chrastil said. “The events of 1871 can give us insight into our own century, by explaining why people rise up and how governments try to repress them.”
Chrastil also hopes students find the lecture opportunity valuable and choose to attend.
“It’s a chance to learn from one of the world’s leading experts in revolutionary history,” Chrastil said.
“(Merriman) is known around the world. Every French historian in the United States knows and likes him, so this is a great opportunity for Xavier students to meet really a preeminent scholar who’s also a very dynamic and exciting speaker,” Chrastil said.
Merriman will speak at 7 p.m. on Nov. 6 in the Conaton Board Room in Schmidt Hall. For more information on Merriman and his work, visit history.yale.edu/people/john-merriman.