Celebrate Women's History Month with CCAE

February 18, 2021

Employees talking Lydia Weare director of CCAE

Women's History at CCAE

CCAE has long been a center for women, starting with the residents of both the Brattle House and Blacksmith House in the 19th and 20th centuries. Margaret Fuller, Mary Walker, and The Window Shop all contribute to the rich legacy of women changing the world from our two historic buildings on Brattle Street.

Read more about women's history at the Brattle and Blacksmith Houses here.

Cambridge Center for Adult Education as an organization has also benefitted from the contributions and achievements of women students, instructors, and staff including CCAE's first Executive Director, Lydia Weare, who held the role for 30 years (pictured above); instructors Joyce Carol Chen, famed Chinese-American chef, Berta Golahny, artist, Ruth Whitman, poet, and Margret Rey, author of Curious George; and Blacksmith House Poetry Series Director Andrea Cohen and Founding Director Gail Mazur; and more!

Programs and Classes

Italian: Cine-città: Two Films by Italian Women Directors
2 Wednesdays | Mar. 3 & 10 | 5 - 7 pm | $75 | Register

We will discuss Vergine giurata (2015) by Laura Bispuri and Lazzaro felice (2018) by Alice Rohrwacher. These two critically acclaimed films bring together fable and realism to represent the aspirations and fears of our present. Mesmerizing, thought-provoking and wonderfully acted, their unique take on issues of class and gender will provide us with an opportunity to share our thoughts and impressions. Students of all levels of Italian are welcome as long as they are prepared to immerse into the language. We recommend watching the movies before class. Instructor: Maria Grazia Lolla

Blacksmith House Poetry Series: Joyce Carol Oates
Monday | Mar. 15 | 7:15 - 8:15 pm | $3 | Register

Joyce Carol Oates reads from her new poetry collection, American Melancholy.
Purchase American Melancholy

All Spring Blacksmith House Poetry Readings


Reflections of...Diana Ross and the Supremes: Their History and Legacy

2 Fridays | Mar. 19 & 26 | 7 - 8:30 pm | $100 | Register

Do song titles like “Baby Love,” “Come See About Me,” and “You Can’t Hurry Love” ring a bell? You may know the songs, but do you know the group that made them? It was the Supremes, an African American female singing group, and a premier act of Motown Records during the 1960s. In this class, we will explore and discuss the history of the Supremes against the backdrop of the patriarchal and racially divided climate of the 20th century in America. Come join this fun and an informative class of one of the most important girl groups of its time. Instructor: Von Beckford


Women's Art of Late Antiquity & Byzantium
6 Tuesdays | Apr. 6 | 5:30 - 7 pm | $150 | Register

Women have created art, commissioned monuments, and sparked creative dialogues since the beginning of time, but their artistic legacies have often been neglected. Let's travel together to Late Antiquity and the Byzantine Empire to discuss the women who fought to ensure their art would be seen for millennia. This class will explore the lives and art of powerful empresses, including Helena (mother of Constantine), Galla Placidia, Princess Anicia Juliana, and Theodora. Instructor: Kelse Petersen

Edith Wharton: House of Mirth and Age of Innocence
8 Thursdays | Apr. 8 | 10:30 am - 12:00 pm | $240 | Register

Born into New York high society in 1862, Edith Wharton drew on her background to present closely observed, emotionally rich fiction. In The House of Mirth (1905) she recounts Lily Bart’s unhappy struggle to secure her place in the aggressively materialistic American society. In The Age of Innocence (1920) she tells a poignant story of thwarted love, made into a brilliant film by Martin Scorsese. Wharton’s life and art dramatize the emerging importance of female perspectives in the early 20th century. Instructor: Margery Sabin


Meet Agatha Christie’s Partners in Crime: Tommy & Tuppence Beresford

6 Thursdays | Apr. 8 | 1 - 2:30 pm | $180 | Register

The Beresfords are young and audacious. Unlike Miss Marple and Poirot, they are quite restless and at times a little reckless, and like the rest of us, they age with time. At Blunt International Detective Agency, their slogan is “Any Case Solved in 24 Hours” but can they really deliver? Join us to read their sundry adventures and cases, which are full of danger and mischief. Please acquire “Partners in Crime” ISBN 978-0-06-207436-2 by William Morrow Paperbacks. Instructor, Olga Turcotte


Aperitivo letterario: Italian Book Club
4 Fridays | Apr. 9 | 6 - 7:30 pm | $115 | Register

Do you love Italy and all Italian things? Do you like the idea of knowing more about the country’s literature, history, and culture? Then this Italian book club is perfect for you. Come to share some classic literature, novels, and contemporary fiction with a glass of wine, the Italian type, of course! Intermediate Level (B1) in Italian required. Every term new books.
Required book for the first meeting: La casa sull'argine (2020) by Daniela Raimondi.
Instructor: Elena Lori


Spanish Advanced Reading and Conversation: Las Mujeres del Boom Latinoamericano (Part II)
5 Wednesdays | Apr. 14 | 6 - 7:30 pm | $140 | Register

El boom latinoamericano fue un movimiento literario muy importante que hizo que la literatura latinoamericana traspasara fronteras. En una generación que miraba a Europa como referente cultural, logró que Latinoamérica sintiera confianza en sí misma. Cuando pensamos en el Boom latinoamericano, pensamos en grandes autores, principalmente cuatro, principalmente hombres. Los nombres que casi nunca figuran en los recuentos del boom son los nombres de las mujeres. Ellas nunca gozaron de la misma fama. Desde hace relativamente poco se habla más de ellas. En esta clase leeremos cuentos y fragmentos de algunas de las autoras de esta época. Estos textos serán la base para comentar, conversar mucho e intercambiar opiniones. Practicaremos la comprensión de lectura y la conversación. También veremos un par de videos cortos relevantes al tema.Esta clase está destinada a alumnos avanzados.
The Latin-American boom was a very important literary movement that crossed borders. For a generation that looked up to Europe as a cultural reference, it helped boost Latin America’s cultural self-confidence. When we think about the writers of this movement, mainly four famous authors come to mind, all of them men. The names that are seldom mentioned are those of the women. They were never as famous nor earned the same recognition until fairly recently. In this class, we will read short stories and excerpts of some of the female authors of this time in history. We will practice reading comprehension and conversation. We will also watch a couple of videos related to the topic. This class is recommended for advanced students (CEFR B2 and above).
Students are welcome to join this class even if they have not attended Part I in fall.
Instructor: Martha de la Vega


Cocktails Night: Gin and Gender

Saturday | Apr. 17 | 3 - 4:30 pm | $40 | Register

Gin has a long history in America, so do cocktails. In this online interactive class, join Alejandra and Daniela, a queer Latinx couple who have bartended for over 10 years and learn how to make 3 delicious gin cocktails step by step. We’ll talk about history and background of each cocktail and how the gender stereotypes influence how the cocktails have been made until today. We’ll also talk about the glassware of each cocktail and the story behind it. Each cocktail will lead us to the meaningful conversation and how each of us can make a difference as a citizen of the world. One drink at a time. The supply list will be sent prior to the class along with the Zoom link. You are welcome to substitute gin with any of your favorite spirits. They will still come out delicious. Instructor: Alejandra Toro and Daniela Castaneda


Songs of Female Artists for Ukulele

5 Wednesdays | May 12 | 4:30 - 5:30 pm | $135 | Register

Learn the unique riffs and strum patterns for songs made famous by female artists such as Dusty Springfield, Helen Reddy, Nancy Sinatra, Adele, Madonna, and Lady Gaga. Bonus: bespoke warm-up exercises to help you with these songs. Prerequisite: Can read and play from chord diagrams with basic strum patterns. Instructor: Anne Ku


Jane Austen and Beethoven: Cultural Contemporaries

Tuesday | June 1 | 3 - 5 pm | $50 | Register

The novels of Jane Austen are full of early 19th century English upper-class romances and other intrigues. But Austen’s novels also talk almost as much about the importance of being cultured and entertained. Music was an important part of the life of Jane Austen’s characters, and of Austen herself. Contemporaneously but far away, Beethoven was composing his symphonies. In addition to his symphonies, he composed music that ordinary people with moderate musical skills might play in their salons or drawing rooms, often consisting of sonatas and popular folk songs. What kind of music did Jane Austen (and ipso-facto, her characters) know? What were the “hit tunes” that young people discuss and play for each other in Jane Austen’s day? Join us for a short romp into popular musical culture with a literary bent. Instructor: Anatole Sykley