Language, Denaturing, and the Jaguar’s Gaze

The Climate Catastrophe and the Crises of Modernity

When you work as a freelance translator, strange constellations of things sometimes lob in a clump on your table, as if they want you to release them from their fragmentary state by trying to see them as a set. So, what came together last week was checking a translation into Catalan of a text by Wendy Hollway called “How the Light Gets in: Beyond Psychology’s Modern Individual”; translating into English a novel, ostensibly about the Catalan writer’s love for his cat (called Cloud) but also a city man’s failed attempts to fit into a small, closed, rural community; writing a text for a big exhibition about the Amazon and Indigenous knowledge; and trying to get back to a half-written book about sex, gender, and human rights. All these oddments have revealed a pattern of certain aspects of the climate catastrophe and its origins in modernity, science, notions of nature, gender, language, and violence. What follows can’t be anything like a disquisition, but only impressions of what I glimpsed.

A female jaguar at Piquiri River, Mato Grosso state, Brazil. Photo: Charles J. Sharp

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