Alex Blanchette Visiting Fellow
Alex Blanchette is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Environmental Studies at Tufts University. His ethnographic research explores the politics of labor in altered environments. He is the author of Porkopolis: American Animality, Standardized Life, and the Factory Farm (2020), which argues that human labor and animal life are becoming increasingly intertwined as agribusiness corporations remake the pig species to enable unending industrial growth. He also co-edited How Nature Works: Rethinking Labor on a Troubled Planet (2019), a book that analyzes how non-human beings are enlisted into capitalist work regimens. He has published widely on the state of rural American work, nature, and health in venues such as Cultural Anthropology, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, and The Guardian.
During his fellowship in the Animal Law & Policy Program, Alex will begin writing a new book on the politics of quitting meatpacking. While American slaughterhouses have long had notoriously high turnover rates, there is little focused research on why or how diverse people manage to refuse work in these sites. Rooted in ethnographic interviews with ex-workers from across the country, this book project explores how quitters could emerge as a force for transforming industrial meat – and perhaps even serve as inspirations for letting go of many other inheritances and attachments to outdated 20th century institutions and ways of living.