1. When I was a substitute teacher, a first grader once asked me what the word “communal” meant. In English, it is often in reference to communism, an association which comes with significant problems, but in French, the commune is no different than a town, a municipality.

  2. My studies over the last couple years have involved various takes on the commune—alternative museums, anarchist schools, farms, confederations, and even cities. Each has brought into question another, more complicated word—civilization.

  3. Relevant to my own ancestry, I consider how Ashkenazi Jews—historically emerging from social precariousness and violence in Europe—have approached these ideas.

  4. As I’ve seen the projects of lifestyle anarchists and communists devolve into chaotic hierarchies, the ramifications of civilization have not ceased to concern me. In collaboration, I want to ponder these questions: What is the nature of civilization? What is possible in the commune?

– Zach Whitworth