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

Office: 617.627.2802


Alex Blanchette
Associate Professor of Anthropology

Ph.D. in Anthropology, The University of Chicago

Labor; biotechnology, animals; de-industrialization; food politics, industrial agriculture; United States

Scholarship & Research
My research is concerned with the politics of industrial labor and life in a post-industrial United States. My first book, Porkopolis: American Animality, Standardized Life, 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 the transformations to human being — in terms of living arrangements, the value of work, biological embodiment, and senses of identity and personhood — necessary to sustain contemporary qualities and quantities of industrial animal life in the rural United States. I am currently researching a second book project on traces of large-scale slaughter in contemporary Chicago, one that begins with the closing of the Union Stock Yards (aka "The Jungle") in 1971. It asks how people try to maintain, remake, overcome, or redeem the legacies and ecological remains of the meatpacking yards that gave us facets of 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, reinventing political economy, and ethnography.



2020. Porkopolis: American Animality, Standardized Life, and the Factory Farm. Durham: Duke University Press.

2019. How Nature Works: Rethinking Labor on a Troubled Planet (edited w/ Sarah Besky). Albuquerque: University of New Mexico/SAR Press Advanced Seminar Series.

Edited Special Issues and Series

2019. An Anthropological Almanac of Rural Americas. Special issue of Journal for the Anthropology of North America (edited w/ Marcel LaFlamme). Vol 22(2).

2018. The Naturalization of Work (edited w/ Sarah Besky). "Theorizing the Contemporary" forum for Cultural Anthropology Online.

Articles and Chapters

Forthcoming. The Politics of Palatability: Pet Food, Hog Viscera, and the Trade in Industrial Sense Impressions. Eating Beside Ourselves. Heather Paxson, Ed. Durham: Duke University Press.

Forthcoming. The Slaughterhouse After Surplus Value: Breaking In at the End of Industrial Time. Sovereignty Unhinged. Joseph Masco and Deborah Thomas, Eds. Durham: Duke University Press. [Edited and Updated Reprint from Porkopolis.]

2019. Introduction (w/ Marcel LaFlamme).Journal for the Anthropology of North America. Vol 22(2). Introduction to special issue, "An Anthropological Almanac of Rural Americas."

2019. The Ruralization of the Jungle. Journal for the Anthropology of North America. Vol 22(2).

2019. The Fragility of Work (w/ Sarah Besky).How Nature Works: Rethinking Labor on a Troubled Planet. Besky and Blanchette, Eds. Albuquerque: SAR Press, 1-19.

2019. Making Monotony: Bedsores and Other Signs of an Overworked Hog.How Nature Works: Rethinking Labor on a Troubled Planet. Besky and Blanchette, Eds. Albuquerque: SAR Press, 59-76.

2019. Infinite Proliferation, or the Making of the Modern Runt. Life By Algorithms: How Roboprocesses are Remaking Our World. Catherine Besteman and Hugh Gusterson, Eds. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 91-106.

2019. Living Waste and the Labor of Toxic Health on American Factory Farms. Medical Anthropology Quarterly. Vol 33(1): 80-100.

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. Ilana Gershon and Natalie Porter, Eds. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 130-141.

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

Short-Form Writing and Public Media

2020. Time After Taylorism. Post-Covid Fantasies Series, American Ethnologist Online.

2020. Covid-19 Shows Factory Food Production is Dangerous for Animals and Humans Alike. The Guardian, September 8 (w/ Troy Vettese).

2018. Coming to Terms: Nothing New. Journal for the Anthropology of North America. Vol 21(2): 72-73.

2018. Blood Mares and the Work of Naturalization. Theorizing the Contemporary Series, Cultural Anthropology Online.

2014. Porkopolis: A Visual Anatomy. The Wenner-Gren Foundation's Engagement Blog.

Selected Interviews

2020. Thinking Through Human-Animal Labor. Interview for the blog Ekrits (in English and Japanese w/ Mariko Yoshida and Shiaki Kondo).

2020. Working Pigs and Humans in the Age of COVID-19. Interview for Radical History Review's "The Abusable Past" blog (w/ Gabriel Rosenberg).

2020. Industrializing Animal Life and Death. Interview for the School for Advanced Research Press website (w/ Sarah Soliz).

2020. Porkopolis. Author Q&A for the Duke University Press Website.

2020. Pork on the Frontiers of Capitalism. Long-Form Radio Interview for This is Hell! (WNUR-FM, Chicago).

2015. Porcine Worlds: An Interview with Alex Blanchette. Dialogues Series, Cultural Anthropology Online.