The Freigeist research project, The Cold War's Clash of Civilizations: The Soviet Union, the Left, and the International Origins of Islamism investigates the Cold War origins of religious sectarianism in the greater Middle East today. The importance of religious sectarianism in international relations has come to the fore in recent years, especially with concerns over Shi'a Iran's development of nuclear weapons, Sunni- Shi'a confessional violence in Pakistan, and the potential breakup of Iraqi into a Shi'a-dominated south and a north controlled by the anti- Western, but also anti-Shi'a lslamic State. Yet the question of how theological divides become internationalized, and the extent to which sectarian violence has shorter-term historical roots, remains contested. The question becomes all the more puzzling when one considers that until the late 1970s, it was secular regimes and socialist parties, not Islamists, who held power across the lands that would be rocked most heavily by sectarian violence. This project places this battle between- and among-governments, socialists, and Islamist activists in an international and global context.