By Dr. Norman Markowitz, JRI Director, Professor of History, Rutgers University
Traian Stoianovich, a world-renowned scholar of Balkan history and a member of our JRI Advisory Board passed away after a long struggle with cancer. Of Serbian Yugoslav background, Traian was born in Graješnica, Macedonia in 1920 and grew up in Rochester, New York. At a time when it was difficult for working class people and immigrants to achieve higher education, he graduated from the University of Rochester, served in the U.S military after WW II and received a doctorate from the University of Paris in 1952, where he became a major figure in the internationally influential Annale School of history He applied his education to the study of the Balkans, publishing A Study of Balkan Civilization (1967) which is regarded as both a classic and a major educational text. After his retirement he published a four-volume collection of articles and essays, Between East and West, the Balkan and Mediterranean Worlds (1992-1995) and also Balkan Worlds: The First and Last Europe (1994) rich in its insights and understanding for both the Balkans and European civilization. Many of his works were translated into Serbian and published in Yugoslavia, and he continued to work as a scholar right up to his death on December 21, 2005.
I had the privilege of knowing Traian Stoianovich as an outstanding colleague and as a friend at Rutgers University, both before and after his retirement. A kind and gentle man, Traian was fiercely proud in a non-chauvinist way of his Serbian heritage and of the achievements of the Serbian people. He detested not only the NATO war that devastated Serbia and dismembered Yugoslavia, but what he regarded as the racist libels and slanders directed against the Serbian people both during and after the war. While the politicians and generals who directed that war of aggression are ugly footnotes to history, his work as a scholar and his enormously positive achievements as a teacher will continue to live on.
Traian is survived by his daughter, Diana Revson, his grandsons Tripp and Alex Revson, his wife Marcelle Stoianovich, and his son, Christian Stoianovich.