November 15, 2017
Dickinson's Professor David Commins will deliver this lecture, the History Department's Eighth Annual Whitfield Bell Lecture
It’s summer 1979. A time when Saudi Arabia is taking a breather from its first oil boom. It seemed for a few years not merely that the kingdom underwent a frenetic pace of construction. Time itself accelerated, as royals and commoners rushed toward a golden future. But not all Saudis joined the jet-speed caravan. Some felt out of place in mushrooming concrete apartment buildings, and wished for a return to the simpler life of the nomadic clan in the desert. Nostalgia for the desert and religious purity animated a band of earnest youths and their leader, Juhaiman. In summer 1979, they read the signs of impending apocalyptic rupture in prophetic script; and they were ready to act out the script, complete with calamitous earthquakes and bloody battles. Lecture sponsored by the History Department and the History Majors Committee. Refreshments will be served.