“Off-animals,” as they are called by some managers of North American pork production, are the biological refuse of agribusiness efforts to realize standardized 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 — and potentially signals their limits. This talk arches through Alex Blanchette’s recent book, Porkopolis, and into his research on the remains of Chicago’s Union Stockyards, in order to examine off-animals as indicators of the waning state of labor and value in the United States today.
Alex Blanchette is 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 the co-editor of How Nature Works: Rethinking Labor on a Troubled Planet (2019, SAR Press).
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