Prof. Alex Dragnic, PhD (Republic, Washington, February 22, 1912 – Mitchellville, Maryland, August 10, 2009) was a SASA academician as a foreign member, member of the Crown Council and holder of the Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the White Eagle. He worked as an American university professor of political science at Vanderbilt University and was an expert on Yugoslavia and Serbia.
After lecturing at Case Western University in Cleveland, he became cultural and public relations attaché at the US Embassy in Belgrade from 1947 to 1950. This position shaped his entire career. Vanderbilt University Chancellor Harvey Branscomb, in a US government mission, met with Dragnic in Belgrade. He was so impressed that he offered him the appointment of associate professor if he decided to leave the government service.
He taught at Vanderbilt University in the state of Tennessee from 1950 to 1978, and chaired the Department of Political Science from 1964 to 1969. In 1970, he got Thomas Jefferson Award for his outstanding services to Vanderbilt.
After retiring from Vanderbilt University, Dragnic taught at the University of Washington and Lee in Lexington, Virginia, and was a researcher at the Hoover Institution in Stanford, California. He was president of the Southern Association of Political Science and vice president of the American Association for Political Science.
He wrote 11 books, the most famous of which is the textbook “Major European Governments” (1961), which has had nine editions. “Tito’s Promised Land” is also very important – in which he sharply criticized the Yugoslav communist system. It was published in 1954, following his service at the United States Embassy in Belgrade, between 1947 and 1950. This book was met with sharp reaction from the Yugoslav authorities, and he was banned from returning to Yugoslavia. In 1992, he published the book “Serbs and Croats – the struggle in Yugoslavia”, and his last book “Serbia through the centuries” was published in 2004.
Dragnic has been an expert in Slavic studies and a connoisseur of the political situation in Yugoslavia since its founding in 1918, and he had published a number of books, articles, comments and reviews on Yugoslavia and Serbia. He was often invited by American journalists to comment on current events in Yugoslavia. He publicly criticized the bombing of Yugoslavia on American television shows and in his columns.
Prof. Dragnic also taught at the University of Washington and Lee, was a research associate at the Hoover Institution in Stanford, California, served as president of the Association for Political Science in the South and vice president of the American Association for Political Science. After retiring, he became a professor emeritus at Vanderbilt University.
In 2002, the Government of Serbia awarded Dragnic the Order of the “Yugoslav Star of the First Order”, for his merits in improving the image of Serbs and Serbia in the United States.