Faculty Profile

David Commins

Professor of History; Benjamin Rush Chair in the Liberal Arts and Sciences (1987)

Contact Information


Denny Hall Room 217


His teaching interests are in modern Middle Eastern history with an emphasis on Islamic thought and political movements. His most recent book is The Mecca Uprising: An Insider's Account of Salafism and Insurrection in Saudi Arabia. His other books are Islam in Saudi Arabia, The Gulf States: A Modern History, The Wahhabi Mission and Saudi Arabia, Historical Dictionary of Syria, and Islamic Reform.


  • B.A., University of California at Berkeley, 1976
  • Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1985

2024-2025 Academic Year

Fall 2024

HIST 121 Middle East to 1750
Cross-listed with MEST 121-01.

MEST 121 Middle East to 1750
Cross-listed with HIST 121-01.

HIST 404 Activism
The seminar will explore activism at different historical moments in different regions of the world, according to the backgrounds and interests of students in the class. Topics will include different historical approaches to the study of activism and explanations for the successes and failures of activist movements.