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Everything but the Last Breath of the Hog: A Journey into the Guts of the Logistics of Commerce

04.20.2023 04:00 PM

Event Summary

Hogs eating in a black and white photo

Pigs feeding, Namaka farm, AB, about 1920. Photo by Wm. Notman & Son.

Lecture by Deborah Cowen

As founder of the largest meatpacking company in the railroad city that became the "hog butcher for the world," Philip Armour commodified "everything but the last breath" and transformed the making and moving of meat into a profoundly logistical commerce. To this day, meat remains at the cutting edge of the business science of logistics, and so too, the violent bio-political-ecologies of supply chain capitalism. More than the invention of the "dis/assembly line" and the making of settler space economy through railroad colonialism, the logistics of commerce on the killing floor takes us on a journey along haunted rails, through vast colonial ecologies, racial borders of land, labor and the human, and into the singular biome and social body. This itinerary moves with that breath, that which both indexes and evades capture.

This event was presented as part of the Logistics in the Making of Mobile Worlds project at the Neubauer Collegium.


Deborah Cowen


Professor, Department of Geography and Planning, University of Toronto