Martin Beck Matustik was eleven when the Soviet tanks invaded Prague in 1968. At twelve, he published a photo from the funeral of Jan Palach, a Charles University philosophy student who immolated himself in protest of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. While a first-year student at Charles University, at nineteen, he signed Charta 77, the Czechoslovak manifesto for human rights, issued in January 1977 by Vaclav Havel, Jan Patocka, and Jiri Hajek. He became a political refugee in August of that year. As a Fulbright student of Juergen Habermas in Frankfurt in 1989, he witnessed the historical November fall of the Berlin Wall and the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia that led to the election of Havel as the first Czechoslovak president after the fall of the Iron Curtain. He lectured at Prague's Charles University as a Fulbright fellow in 1995.
After earning his PhD from Fordham University in 1991, he taught in the Department of Philosophy at Purdue University. In 2008, he joined Arizona State University as Lincoln Professor of Ethics and Religion and Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Arizona State University. His research and teaching specialties range from critical theory, Continental philosophy, literature, phenomenology, and existentialism to post-Holocaust and reparative ethics, social theory, and spirituality.
Matustík has published six single-author books, edited two collections, and co-edited New Critical Theory, a series from Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. Among his publications are Specters of Liberation: Great Refusals in the New World Order (1998); Juergen Habermas: A Philosophical-Political Profile (2001); Kierkegaard in Post/Modernity (1995), co-edited with Merold Westphal; and Radical Evil and the Scarcity of Hope: Postsecular Meditations (2008). Martin Beck Matustik's memoir, Out of Silence: Repair Across Generations completed in 2012 (manuscript), depicts a journey that spans three generations and four continents as one man tries to define himself based on a past he never knew he possessed.