Karen Smith, North America/Germany/Switzerland
A North American Woman's Experience of European Citizenship Berlin Kreuzberg was my European home, where I arrived in 1973, living and working as an actor in the BerlinerBildertheater, a travelling political street theater. We performed pieces on environmental, peace and women's issues, as well as doing workshops with women in prison. Between 1979 and 1991 I was based in Switzerland, leading management seminars and women's spirituality seminars there as well as in Great Britain, Germany and Italy. In 1991 I returned to Berkeley, California to study under some great teachers of women's history and women's spirituality, such as Carol Christ, Lucia Birnbaum, Elinor Gadon, Luishah Teish and Joanna Macy. Working with them inspired me to write a doctoral dissertation at the Graduate Theological Union on the relationship between women saints, oral history and medieval mentalités.
Returning to Switzerland permanently in 2001, I have been active on a very local level in the village I live in, participating in peace liturgies and other local activities. I have developed, along with storyteller Maggie Amman, a women's workshop about using wise women and legendary saints as mirrors for our own activism. Also, I am in the process of translating Heide Goettner-Abendroth's Das Matriarchat I., II.1 and II.2 from German into English. A good part of my time is spent in Geneva, Switzerland, where I work with an NGO associated with indigenous peoples' projects at the United Nations. My newest project is a local women's study group on local food traditions, with the aim of bringing back some historical pride in what the women of the village and their ancestors accomplished.