Mari was educated at Brown and Harvard, and she also holds a degree from the University of Paris, where she studied psychoanalytic theory with Julia Kristeva. She started out in the social sciences, but gradually made her way into the humanities because of her increasing interest in contemporary theory and philosophy.

Ruti started teaching contemporary theory – including gender and sexuality studies – to Harvard undergraduates in 1991 when she was still a graduate student. Nine years later, she became Assistant Director of the Harvard program for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. She is currently Professor of Critical Theory at the University of Toronto, where she teaches contemporary theory, psychoanalysis, continental philosophy, gender and sexuality studies, as well as popular culture. Read More


Academic Publications

Lacan1Between Levinas and Lacan

Levinas and Lacan, two giants of contemporary theory, represent schools of thought that seem poles apart. In this major new work, Mari Ruti charts the ethical terrain between them. Although this book outlines the major differences between Levinas and Judith Butler on the one hand and Lacan, Slavoj Žižek, and Alain Badiou on the other, Ruti proposes that, underneath these differences, one can discern a shared concern with …Read More


appThe Call of Character

Should we feel inadequate when we fail to be healthy, balanced, and well-adjusted? Is it realistic or even desirable to strive for such an existential equilibrium? Condemning our current cultural obsession with cheerfulness and “positive thinking,” Mari Ruti calls for a resurrection of character that honors our more eccentric frequencies and argues that sometimes a tormented and anxiety-ridden life can also be rewarding. Read More


The Singularity of Being

The Singularity of Being presents a Lacanian vision of what makes each of us an inimitable and irreplaceable creature. It argues that, unlike the “subject” (who comes into existence as a result of symbolic prohibition) or the “person” (who is aligned with the narcissistic conceits of the imaginary), the singular self emerges in response to a galvanizing directive arising from the real. Read More


summons_tThe Summons of Love

We are conditioned to think that love heals wounds, makes us happy, and gives our lives meaning. When the opposite occurs and love causes fracturing, disenchantment, and existential turmoil, we suffer deeply, especially if we feel that we have failed to experience what others seem so effortlessly to enjoy. Read More


A World of Fragile Things

How are our lives meaningful? What is the relationship of loss to creativity? How can we best engage and overcome our suffering? From Socrates to Foucault, Western philosophers have sought to define “the art of living”—the complex craft of human existence that elicits our thoughtful participation…Read More


Reinventing the Soul

How does the self care for itself in the posthumanist era? What psychic processes might allow the postmodern subject to find meaning and value in its life? Is it possible to delineate a theory of psychic potentiality that is compatible with poststructuralist models of fluid, decentered, and polyvalent subjectivity? Read More