In the early 1960s the Tanzanian state embarked on a project of building a "national culture." In a series of "cultural initiatives" targeted mainly at urban areas, a shifting set of practices deemed antithetical to this vision of national culture were the subjects of bans enforced by the ruling party (TANU) Youth League. As mini-skirts, soul music, beauty contests, wigs, cosmetics, and Maasai "traditional" dress all fell under such bans, these objects and the cultural practices associated with them became highly politicized. My dissertation will examine the confrontations that surrounded T ANU's campaigns, focusing in particular on the lively debates that they engendered. It will also move beyond these encounters to both trace the emergence of a state cultural apparatus and investigate the ways in which targeted objects and practices became embedded in diverse local struggles over gender, age, and wealth.