Join us for a presentation from Alex Blanchette as part of the Anthropology Roundtable Symposium Series! Refreshments will be served. Free and open to the public.
“Standardizing and De-Standardizing Life on an American 'Factory' Farm”
This talk looks at dimensions of what it means to be human within one of the planet’s most densely concentrated sites of domesticated animal life, describing labor and cultural struggles in an American company town that is organized around the mass-production of pigs. Against the popular image of factory farming as a form of seamless and total anthropocentric dominion over non-human species, my broader research project unpacks the ongoing transformations to human kinship, values, hierarchies and bodies that agribusiness corporations deem necessary to maintain their prolific and uniform pigs. This talk, in particular, attempts to read 21st century changes to animals’ hormones, ovulation, sentience, and muscle fibers in terms of what they can tell us about the waning yet tenacious state of industrial capitalism in an ostensibly post-industrial United States. Along the way, it explores how agribusiness's models of labor exploitation are inadvertently cultivating unique knowledge of non-human beings, the changing place of the human body within modern meat, and the politics of labor and species on an overworked world.
Alex Blanchette is assistant professor of Anthropology and Environmental Studies at Tufts University. He is the co-editor of How Nature Works: Rethinking Labor on a Troubled Planet (2019, SAR Press Advanced Seminar Series) and the author of the forthcoming book, Porkopolis: American Animality, Standardized Life, and the Factory Farm (2020, Duke University Press).
Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Vollum College Center, 116
3203 Southeast Woodstock Boulevard, Portland, Oregon 97202-8199
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