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Contact Info:
Tufts University
Department of Anthropology
309 Eaton Hall
Medford, MA 02155

Office: 617.627.2802
(On leave, Spring 2018)


Alex Blanchette
Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Ph.D. in Anthropology, The University of Chicago
M.A. in Anthropology, The University of Chicago
B.A. in Linguistics and Anthropology, The University of Toronto

Political ecology, labor, green capitalism; biotechnology, animals; modernity, alienation, determination; food politics; industrial agriculture, United States

Major Awards
Advanced Seminar at the School for Advanced Research, Santa Fe NM (2016); Ciriacy-Wantrup Visiting Scholar Fellowship in Geography, The University of California, Berkeley (2015-2016); Richard Saller Prize for best dissertation in the Division of Social Sciences at the University of Chicago (2013-2014); Wenner-Gren Foundation Engaged Anthropology Grant (2013); Weatherhead Fellowship, School For Advanced Research, Santa Fe (2012-2013); Wenner-Gren Foundation Dissertation Fellowship (2010); National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (2009-2010); Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship (2006-2009)

Scholarship & Research
My research is concerned with the politics of industrial labor and life in a post-industrial United States. My first book, Porkopolis: Standardized Life, American Animality, and the "Factory" Farm, is an ethnography of labor within some of the world’s largest meat corporations, one that follows the making of the pig across every facet of its existence from genetics to some 1,100 post-death commodities. It examines, in particular, the transformations to human being — in terms of living arrangements, the value of labor, biological embodiment, and senses of identity and personhood — that have become necessary to sustain contemporary qualities and quantities of industrial animal life in the rural United States. I am currently researching a second major book project on traces of large-scale slaughter in contemporary Chicago, one that begins with the closing of the Union Stockyards (aka "The Jungle") in 1971. It asks how people try to maintain, remake, or redeem the legacies and ecological remains of the meatpacking yards that once gave us industrialism as we know it today. At Tufts University, I teach a range of classes on environmentalism, the end of work, animal life, food production, labor justice, creative political economy, and ethnography.

Alongside the photographer Sean Sprague, I am also developing approaches to visualizing scale and intimacies of animal agribusiness in the United States. View a brief, early profile of this work, or a longer description of some of the original inspirations of the project.


Books and Edited Issues

Forthcoming. Porkopolis: Standardized Life, American Animality, and the "Factory" Farm. Duke University Press.

Forthcoming. How Nature Works, co-edited with Sarah Besky. SAR Press, Advanced Seminar Series.

2018. "The Naturalization of Work," co-edited with Sarah Besky. Theorizing the Contemporary series, Cultural Anthropology website.

Articles, Chapters, and Commentaries

Forthcoming. "Introduction: The Fragility of Work," co-authored with Sarah Besky. How Nature Works. Edited by Sarah Besky and Alex Blanchette. SAR Press, Advanced Seminar Series.

Forthcoming. "Making Monotony: Bedsores and Other Signs of an Overworked Hog." How Nature Works. Edited by Sarah Besky and Alex Blanchette. SAR Press, Advanced Seminar Series.

2019. "Infinite Proliferation, or the Making of the Modern Runt." Life by Algorithms: How Roboprocesses are Remaking our World. Edited by Hugh Gusterson and Catherine Besteman. University of Chicago Press.

2019. "Living Waste and the Labor of Toxic Health on American Factory Farms." Medical Anthropology Quarterly. Vol 33(1).

2018. Come to Terms: Nothing New. Journal for the Anthropology of North America (JANA). 21(2).

2018. "Industrial Meat Production." Annual Review of Anthropology. Vol 47: 185-199.

2018. "How to Act Industrial Around Industrial Pigs." Living With Animals: Bonds Across Species. Edited by Natalie Porter and Ilana Gershon. Cornell University Press, 130-141.

2018. "Blood Mares and the Work of Naturalization." Theorizing the Contemporary: The Naturalization of Work, Cultural Anthropology website. July 26, 2018.

2015. "Porcine Worlds: An Interview with Alex Blanchette." Dialogues, Cultural Anthropology website. November 17.

2015. "Herding Species: Biosecurity, Posthuman Labor, and the American Industrial Pig." Cultural Anthropology. Vol 30(4): 640-669.

In Preparation. "Making Agribusiness Palatable: Pet Food, Hog Viscera, and the Trade in Industrial Sense Impressions." Thresholds of Eating. Edited by Heather Paxson.

In Preparation. "Animality Americana: Cull Markets, Logistics, and Industrial as Heritage" Journal article.