The Guy Fawkes Mask and Historical Memory


June 08, 2021

Start time



All Campus

Knowledge Area

All Knowledge Areas

The mask popularly seen at demonstrations since the early teens of this century, notably by Occupy and Anonymous, has a long and strange history. It is especially odd to have sprung up as a grass roots symbol of the downtrodden, since the face’s origin lies in that of a doomed arch-reactionary. In this discussion Vicki-Marie Petrick traces the rhyme and reason of that metamorphosis, with a look to the historical theory of Pierre Nora and a suggestion as to why the figure’s strange smile stays with us so.


About Vicki-Marie Petrick

Vicki-Marie Petrick has been adjunct professor of European History and Art History at Schiller International University (Paris Campus) since 2018. With her doctorate from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Histoire et Civilisations, she views her work through the highly interdisciplinary lens of historical anthropology. She has published studies on the concepts of corporality in medieval and Renaissance mentalities as well as the symbolic and concrete meanings of the media that artists employed, and viewers experienced. Current areas of research continue to explore the representation of gender, the body, and materiality. Vicki-Marie's driving force is communicating to her students her passion for understanding how the past informs the present.