Last Wednesday was an exciting day for Wittenberg University’s history department as it kicked off the semester with its spring colloquium. Award winning researcher Vlada Stankovic came to speak to students and faculty about his research in twelfth and thirteenth century Southeastern Europe and the Komnenian dynasty.
The informal event began with Christian Raffensperger, history professor, introducing his friend and colleague Stankovic to a packed Ness Auditorium, filled with 60 restless members of the Wittenberg community. Raffensperger joked about their friendship and shared stories about how lonely their research and field of study actually is. Raffensperger claimed that their research on Southeastern Europe is lonely because the time periods that they study are so dense and specific that they’re probably the only two people who study it.
Once Stankovic took the floor, he told the audience, in a very thick Russian accent, that he was probably going to bore them for the next hour or so. He went on to thank Raffensperger, by telling him he was going to make him cry because of the kind words he said about him and their friendship.
The start to the presentation had a slight delay as Ness auditorium fell pitch black because a student standing in the back had accidentally turned off the lights by leaning onto the switch. Once the lights were restored and the audience began to calm down, Stankovic started talking about Alexios I Komnenos and how he was able to keep the rulership of the Byzantine Empire through marriage until the fall of Constantinople in 1453.
When Stankovic finished his presentation he welcomed members of the audience to ask him questions.
However, no one raised a hand, causing Raffensperger to stand up and say, “and now is the time that everyone is supposed to ask questions.”
After the presentation, Mike Carluccios, ‘19, spoke about Raffensperger’s comment.
“I don’t think anyone had questions about Stankovic’s presentation because his accent and the information were difficult to understand,” Carluccios said.
Although no one had any questions, the Wittenberg community had let Stankovic know that they had enjoyed his visit and presentation by giving him a thunderous round of applause to conclude the history department’s spring colloquium.