Kata Beilin is a writer, researcher, and a Professor at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a faculty affiliate at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, Latin American, Iberian and Caribbean Studies Program and Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies.
In 2017 she is a Rachel Carson fellow at Rachel Carson Center for Environmental Studies
Specializing in Iberian/Spanish Cultural Studies, and Environmental Cultural Studies in the Hispanic World, Kata Beilin promotes transdisciplinary and collaborative research across different fields of studies, including non-academic partners and knowledges. She is particularly interested in human-plant alliances in agri-cultures and agroecologies.
Prof. Beilin’s current research project, led in partnership with Sai Suryan, and tentatively entitled The Rise of the Resistant; Interspecies Cultures and Debates on GE Crops in the Hispanic World integrates approaches from environmental cultural studies and science & technology studies to analyze synergies between biological and social resistance to genetically engineered crops.
Her paralel solo book focusses on alternative economies and cultures of environmental renewal in Spain and Latin America that involve ecological economics, agroecology, permaculture, ecofeminism and feminist economies, as well as, indigenous environmental ethics and philosophies.
Beilin’s previous project, In Search of an Alternative Biopolitics: Antibullfighting, Animality and the Environment in Contemporary Spain (The Ohio State UP, 2015) takes readers on a journey through currents of alternative thought in Spanish culture, weaving through writings, films and life stories whose authors and protagonists are acutely aware that “the question of the non-human,” in particular in the land of bullfighting masculinities, is key not only to environmental sustainability, but also to political freedom, and equality.
Her co-edited with William Viestenz Ethics of Life; Contemporary Iberian Debates. (Vanderbilt UP, 2016) maps discourses of accountability for life manipulation and loss, including debates on oil spills, euthanasia, abortion, bullfighting, war memory and genetically modified organisms in Spain.
In her book, Del Infierno al cuerpo; la otredad en la narrativa y cine español contemporáneo (Libertarias, 2007) Beilin analyzes works that blur divisions between realism and the fantastic in order to subvert socio-political discourses of their times. She coins the concept of "disquiting realism" to define the narrative mood in Spanish fiction of the 80s and 90s that portrays the real as if it were fantastic. Beilin remains very interested in how disquiting realism is currently used in science fictions and climate fictions (cli fi) in the context of environmental crisis and Global Warming.
Her first book Conversaciones literarias con escritores contemporáneos (Tamesis, 2004) is a collection of in-depth interviews with José María Merino, Enrique Vila-Matas, Antionio Munoz Molina, Ricardo Piglia, Cristina Fernández Cubas, Pedro Zarraluki, Juan José Millas and Ray Loriga, focussed on visions of reality and the fantastic.