Prof. Zed Adams at The Velaslavasay Panorama

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January 4, 2011

Zed Adams Illustrated Lecture



The History & Philosophical Significance of 19th Century Color Vocabulary Studies
- An Illustrated Lecture by -

Friday, January 14, 2011
8 o’clock PM

Tickets $10 {$8 For V.P.E.S. Members, Students, Seniors}
Advance tickets available at

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Zed Adams to The Velaslavasay Panorama for an illustrated presentation exploring the 19th century pre-history of how we have come to think about and experience colors today.

In the mid-19th century, William Gladstone, a prominent British statesman and dedicated reformer of prostitutes, argued that an analysis of Homer's color vocabulary in the Iliad revealed that the ancient Greeks were color-blind. This claim set off a virtual landslide of color vocabulary studies, in which a wide variety of both amateur and professional scholars struggled to refute or reinforce Gladstone's provocative claim.

Professor Adams will survey the previously untold history of these color vocabulary studies, revealing the pioneering work that they inspired in philology, psychology, anthropology, and linguistics. He also draws a philosophical moral from this history, arguing that it reveals a significant shift in thinking about the nature of colors from the 19th century to today. This fascinating illustrated lecture will be followed by a technicolor-themed reception in the garden area of The Velaslavasay Panorama.

Zed Adams is currently Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York, where he works on ethics, aesthetics, and the philosophy of mind. He is currently working on a history of ethical skepticism, focusing on the emergence of a distinctively modern strand of skepticism in the 17th and 18th centuries. We are indeed pleased to host Dr. Adams for this wonderful in-depth look at a rarely explored aspect of our shared cultural history.

This presentation has been made possible in part by the support of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.




The Velaslavasay Panorama