Alex Blanchette, Anthropology and Environmental Studies, Tufts University

Gestation crates

“The Production of Animal Boredom on the American Factory Farm”

My current research projects are concerned with capitalist natures and the industrialization of labor and life in an allegedly post-industrial United States. My book-in-progress, provisionally titled Porkopolis: Standardized Life, American Animality, and the “Factory” Farm, is situated in the workplaces and wake of some of the world’s largest integrated meat corporations, which annually produce 7,000,000 animals in a 100-mile radius region of the Great Plains. On the one hand, the book is a microscopic examination of the cultural politics of bio-industrialization as labor inheres in the fissures of the porcine species—for example, in the pig’s reproductive instincts, its growth ratios, or its fat. On the other, it is an expansive ethnographic portrait of forms of imaginative totalization that underlie the making of the modern hog across every moment of its existence from pre-life to post-death. Moving from genetics facilities to slaughterhouses to bone-processing factories, Porkopolis depicts how the industrial hog is the product of an ongoing struggle over the state of American animality—including that of the human animal—with wide-ranging consequences for rural community, ecology, and agriculture.

Refreshments, none involving pigs, will be served.

This event is free and open to the public. Persons with disabilities who may need assistance to attend should contact Bill Hutchison (

Find our full workshop schedule here.