About Patricia J. Smith

Patricia Smith traveled to East Germany for the first time in 1964, shortly after the Berlin Wall was built, and since 1986 she has returned to the region almost every year. As the recipient of an IREX (International Research and Exchanges Board) Fellowship, she spent 1991-92 in Berlin affiliated with Humboldt University. Her writing on Germany includes After the Wall: Eastern Germany since 1989 (Westview Press: 1998) and articles and papers on topics ranging from the political opposition in East Germany to economic and monetary union to German foreign policy. Patricia Smith has a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Washington in Seattle and has taught political science and international relations at the University of Washington and at universities in Romania.

Other publications include a chapter on “German Economic and Monetary Union: Transition to a Market Economy” in Adaptation and Transformation in Communist and Post-Communist Systems, Westview Press; a chapter on “The Impact of Post-Cold-War Changes on the U.S.-German Relationship” in Coming in from the Cold War, Rowman and Littlefield; and See How She Runs: Effective Political Techniques.

Her interest in the transformations taking place in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe originated on a trip through the region with a singing group from the Pacific Northwest in 1986, a year after Mikhail Gorbachev had assumed power in the Soviet Union. There she experienced signs of change first hand as she walked unhindered through Moscow streets, witnessed candlelight vigils for political activists in Poland, and talked with East Germans wanting to leave their country. Her desire to know more about the changes taking place in Eastern Europe sent her back to graduate school at the University of Washington in Seattle to get a doctorate in political science with a focus on East European politics. Before the wall fell, she had the opportunity to study German at East Germany’s College of Economics [Hochschule für Ökonomie] in Berlin (and during this time she had firsthand experience with the Stasi). Then in early 1990, shortly after the wall fell, she spent several months in East Berlin hearing stories of revolution and conducting preliminary research for her dissertation. The IREX Fellowship for 1991-92 enabled her to interview more than sixty East German activists and others associated with the revolution of 1989 and to conduct archival research on East German groups and social movements.

She lives in Ocean Shores, Washington, where she shows her photography at the Gallery of Ocean Shores. See her photograpy at patriciasmithphotography.com

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