How do objects, such as gifts, money, commodities, art and needed goods become “valued”? How are some things set aside as, in the rather ironic words of the old MasterCard advertisement, “priceless,” and what does that mean? And how do exchanges of valued objects shape relationships among people? The relations between persons and objects, the ways in which values are produced and objectified, and the nature of different forms of exchange and transaction have long been central problems to anthropology, as it explores the different ways that people live in the world. In this class we study classic statements by Marcel Mauss, Karl Marx, and Max Weber on how objects become valued in people’s lives, on gifts and commodities as modes of social interaction and as ways in which people construct “personhood” and selves, and we follow these important statements through in more recent ethnography. We will look, too, at current shifts in analysis from systems of production, to systems of consumption, and try to understand how to understand both processes.