Mergen-Palmer Lecture 2018: American Animality

The Politics of Life, Labor, and Intimacy on a Factory Farm

Mergen-Palmer Lecture 2018 flyer

This talk is about human-animal relations on industrial confinement farms in the United States, written for a moment when workers are increasingly being made to take on some of the pig’s basic biological processes as forms of labor. It describes how industrial agriculture’s current model of labor exploitation inadvertently cultivates forms of radical knowledge of non-human beings, while re-thinking the place of the human body within modern meat. In so doing, it unpacks how farmworkers’ intimacy with hogs might matter for questions of rural justice, and develops ways to think about the politics of labor and species on an overworked planet.