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Martin Beck Matustik03.09.2013
Martin Beck Matuštík is Lincoln Professor of Ethics and Religion and co-director of the Center for Critical Inquiry and Cultural Studies at Arizona State University. He lives in Phoenix. Visit his personal website here.
For a list of articles by this author, click here.
Martin Beck Matuštík is Lincoln Professor of Ethics and Religion and co-director of Center for Critical Theory and Cultural Studies at Arizona State University. He joined Arizona State’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences in Fall 2008.
After earning his Ph. D. from Fordham University in 1991, he was on the faculty in the Department of Philosophy at Purdue University.
Matuštík 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 Postnational Identity: Critical Theory and Existential Philosophy in Habermas, Kierkegaard, and Havel (1993); Specters of Liberation: Great Refusals in the New World Order (1998); Jurgen Habermas: A Philosophical-Political Profile (2001); and Kierkegaard in Post/Modernity (1995), co-edited with Merold Westphal. His most recent book is Radical Evil and the Scarcity of Hope: Postsecular Meditations (2008).
Martin Beck Matuštík’s unpublished memoir, Out of Silence: Repair Across Generations, depicts a journey that spans three generations and four continents as one man tries to define himself based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. Martin was born in 1957 with an impossible urgency to repair the irreparable. He became the child of a Holocaust survivor at age 40 when in 1997 he learned that family members perished in Auschwitz-Birkenau and surviving relatives managed to leave Czechoslovakia in 1946. At that time, he found the key to his mother’s story— and his own— stored in shoe boxes full of public and family secrets: his mother’s Jewish origins and the remarkable story of her life impacted by the Holocaust and the Communist takeover of Central Europe.
Fifteen years later, in 2012, Martin made his second discovery: his mother’s personal reasons for hiding their Jewish origins. Both discoveries would forever change Martin’s life. His memoir tells the story of their joint saga of survival.
After the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, Martin returned to Czechoslovakia from his adopted home in America to discover that his mother’s literary and personal archive, which he hid in Prague on the night before his escape in 1977, contained life-altering secrets. He learned that he was not who he thought he was. Martin was the son of a survivor who cloaked her tragic story in deep silence. Raised in an atheistic home by Communist intellectual parents, he became an orphan and a ward of the Socialist state at 14, a rebelling student and dissident who fled Prague at 19, and, while in America, a Jesuit. Interwoven with Martin’s own story of survival and escape is his mother’s tale of survival; she breaks all ties with her Jewish origins during the Holocaust and embraces the postwar Communist dream only to be betrayed by it during the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
Out of Silence provides an unusual opportunity for readers to accompany a Jewish and personal odyssey of multiple survivals and deaths, escapes and returns, while engaging theoretical and historical questions about whether and how children of survivors repair the shattered maps of memory, places, times, and identities. For more information, click here.
He is the author of six published books, including Radical Evil and the Scarcity of Hope: Postsecular Meditations and Jűrgen Habermas: A Philosophical-Political Profile. He has co-edited New Critical Theory, a series published by Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. After earning his Ph.D. from Fordham University in 1991, he served on the faculty in the Department of Philosophy at Purdue University from 1991-2008. His teaching interests range from critical theory to existentialism to post-Holocaust and reparative ethics and Central-East European thought.