The papers of the late Professor Alex Danchev (1955-2016), Professor of International Relations, University of St Andrews from 2014 to his death in 2016, have been donated to the University of St Andrews Library Special Collections, and have now been catalogued thanks to a generous donation (ms39008).
Danchev graduated with a first-class degree in History and Economics at University College, Oxford in 1977. After completing a postgraduate teacher training certificate at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, he attended the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. He was an officer in the Royal Education Corps for nearly a decade, serving in Cyprus and Scotland and teaching at Sandhurst. While still in the army he completed his PhD in War Studies at King’s College London. After academic posts at the universities of Keele (1992-2004) and Nottingham (2004-2014), Danchev joined the International Relations Department at St Andrews.
Danchev’s commitment to teaching was acknowledged in 2009 when he was awarded the Lord Dearing Award for Teaching and Learning at the University of Nottingham. Danchev had a very broad range of interests, including art, contemporary politics, Anglo-American relations, war on terror, art and war and jazz. His teaching reflected his depths of knowledge, and his views on the importance of looking beyond disciplinary lines. The interdisciplinary nature of his work is evident in the range of publications he produced, from biographies of military strategists to post-impressionist and surrealist artists.
Danchev was a prolific writer, who in his own words, had ‘both literary and academic ambitions.’ The quality of writing was important to him and, as some of his correspondents such as Lady Liddell Hart attest, Danchev’s writing was erudite and full of literary and cultural references. He was fond of poetry and included many quotations in his work.
The archive collection now in St Andrews contains Danchev’s research papers for some of his main publications and articles, such as his biographies of military strategist Sir Basil Liddell Hart, artists Cezanne and Braque and collected essays on Art and War and Terror. These papers include his handwritten notes, annotated newspaper clippings and articles, and correspondence with various experts in the art and political worlds.
It is hoped that this collection will prove to be a valuable resource in the future for studying Danchev’s work and research methods. While parts of the collection will remain closed for the foreseeable future for data protection reasons, many of the files will become available in the coming weeks for use in our Reading Room.
Principal Archives Assistant, formerly Danchev Project Archivist