What is the relationship between peoples’ cultural lives and the material substances they make, buy and use? How do such substances become seductive and necessary for individual and groups? This course investigates material culture through the lens of anthropological political economy. By focusing on the cultural use of substances such as sugar, chocolate, coffee, cheese, soap, bottled water, and alcohol, this course explores their relationship to processes such as globalization, commodification, community development, nationalism, identity information, and movements for social justice. Students develop their own research project making connections among particular substances, social trends, and cultural practices.