Abstract: “Off-animals,” as they are called by some managers of North American pork production, are the biological refuse of agribusiness’s efforts to realize standardized hog life and death. Ranging from aged boars to misshapen pigs, evolving attempts to industrially slaughter these creatures for meat has led to a shadow infrastructure of killing that, in turn, underpins some of the world’s largest factory farms. Arching through and beyond Alex Blanchette’s recent book, Porkopolis: American Animality, Standardized Life, and the Factory Farm (Duke University Press, 2020), this talk outlines an ethnography of these animals to offer new lines of sight onto the waning state of industrial labor and value in the United States today.

Bio: Alex Blanchette is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Environmental Studies at Tufts University. He is the author of Porkopolis: American Animality, Standardized Life, and the Factory Farm (2020, Duke University Press), and he has recently co-edited the book How Nature Works: Rethinking Labor on a Troubled Planet (2019, SAR Press) and a special journal issue titled An Anthropological Almanac of Rural Americas (2019, JANA).