A devastating loss: Mari Ruti, a beloved professor at the University of Toronto, passed away after a cancer struggle. World lost a brilliant scholar and a beautiful human being. We regret to share Mari’s passing with you through this post. Read ahead to know more details about her and Mari Ruti Cancer Journey.
Mari Ruti Death
Mari’s writing is accessible to anyone. She distills all the profoundly insightful ideas from Lacanian psychoanalysis and post-structuralist philosophy into the realm of the commonplace.
Mari Ruti’s GOFUNDME organizer, Heather Jessup, posted a notice about her passing on Mari’s Fund page. Please read the following statement:
Dear friends and colleagues of Mari,
I am so sorry to share this news with you, but Mari died this morning. As you know, Mari underwent every conceivable treatment possible to prolong her joyful, inquiring, generous, and singular life for as long as she could.
However, as I recently wrote here, Mari’s lungs were severely damaged from living with cancer and from long-term treatments for so long. Despite her body’s cancer load having been very low upon her death due to the recent treatments she received in London earlier this year with all of your help, her lungs were unable to sustain the damage.
I was with Mari in the hospital all day yesterday and returned to sit with her body this morning after the hospital called me with the news of her death. A close circle of friends has been informed of her passing. I have shared the news by email with her family in Finland as she requested.
Mari asked me to inform you all and to say thank you for your remarkable generosity in helping her live a truly incredible life for as long as possible.
I know that there will be others who will need to hear of Mari’s death, so please feel free to share this news with others who love her and are inspired by her work.
Friends are taking care of final arrangements and Josh and I will post another update once an obituary has been written about this remarkable, radiant, and brilliant human being. This may take some time. We are all heartbroken today.
It feels important to also include a note about the funds we so generously raised here. Nearly all of the funds raised on GoFundMe and by private donations were used toward Mari’s ablation treatments in London, her travel and accommodation for those treatments, her biopsies and tests, and her consultations at Dana Farber between January and May of this year.
To all my friends, colleagues, authors, terrible news to report–#MariRuti lost her battle to cancer on July 6. It has not yet been widely reported–she was working up to the last second and her coauthor didn't know yesterday. She and her work are very close to me. @ColumbiaUP
— RASP Editor (@raspeditor) June 9, 2023
Mari Ruti’s Biography
Mari Ruti was a Distinguished Professor of critical theory and gender and sexuality studies at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
She was an interdisciplinary researcher in the theoretical humanities who worked at the nexus of posthumanist ethics, gender and sexuality studies, psychoanalytic theory, cultural studies, trauma theory, contemporary theory, and continental philosophy.
Ruti earned her MA, Ph.D., and Diplôme d’Études Approfondies (DEA) from Paris Diderot University, where she studied under Julia Kristeva.
She also earned an MA from the Department of Sociology at Harvard University. She was also a Brown University BA graduate. Ruti was raised in a remote area of Finland close to the Russian border. Ruti relocated to the US when she was 20.
Mari Ruti’s Career
Ruti had a lectureship and was the assistant director of the Harvard Programme for Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality from 2000 to 2004.
She started working at the University of Toronto in 2004, was given tenure in 2008, was given a promotion to full professor in 2013, and was given a promotion to Distinguished Professor in 2017.
Contemporary theory, literary criticism, cultural studies, cinema theory, psychoanalysis, trauma theory, and feminist theory are the main topics covered in Ruti’s undergraduate courses.
Her graduate-level English courses emphasize posthumanist ethics, trauma, affect theory, psychoanalytic theory, and contemporary theory.
She also instructs the yearly graduate course on queer theory at the SDS (Sexual Diversity Studies) Mark S. Bonham Centre.
A variety of graduate students from the humanities and social sciences enroll in this seminar, which is a prerequisite for the SDS Graduate Certificate.
Ruti was the recipient of a $70,000 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Standard Research Grant from 2011 to 2015.
She has a $104,000 SSHRC Insight Grant for the period of 2017 to 2021. For Bloomsbury Press, Ruti co-edits the Psychoanalytic Horizons Book Series.
Ruti served as the Harvard Programme for Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality’s Visiting Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the academic years 2016–2017.
Mari Ruti Cancer Journey
Mari Ruti was told that she had a year to live . . . four and a half years ago. Since her diagnosis of Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer in September 2018, the Canadian healthcare system has failed her thoroughly and repeatedly.
Mari’s cancer story consists of a long string of disasters, most of which could have been avoided with swifter and more effective care. The moment she realized that she had cancer, she clearly and forcefully asked for a double mastectomy. Her male surgeon refused to operate, claiming that she would regret it later.
No amount of reasoning managed to change his perspective, which seemed to be that the worst thing that could ever happen to a woman would be to lose her breasts. Mari felt that she had no agency over her body. After all, they were her breasts.
She should have been able to do whatever she wanted with them. The surgeon’s decision was all the more difficult to understand given that we live in a culture where women have cosmetic breast surgery all the time and where women with genetic mutations that make them prone to breast cancer—and it turned out that Mari has one of these genetic mutations—are allowed to do preventive surgery.
Why, then, was Mari denied this potentially life-saving procedure? She can only think of one reason: a dinosaur of a male surgeon who insists on knowing better than the women he treats.
More than a year later, Mari sat in ER for nine hours to get a referral to a female surgeon, who immediately agreed to perform the surgery on the premise of “your breasts, your decision.”
Unfortunately, by then it was too late: the cancer had spread to Mari’s bones, lungs, and liver. While cancer is a complicated illness, it is impossible to retroactively know if an immediate intervention could have made a difference.
Mari is psychologically haunted by the possibility that the metastatic spread of her cancer could have been prevented by faster action (her diagnosis alone took five weeks to procure).
Mari was also made to wait a year and a half for radiation to her sternum even though she lived in agony from a large tumor in the area.
When radiation was finally granted, she was denied stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT)—a precise and effective form of radiation—on the idea that using such an expensive treatment on a terminal patient was not cost-effective.
At this point, Mari’s friends raised an impressive USD70,000 to enable her to receive SBRT at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. The treatment prolonged her life and made a big difference in her quality of life.
Mari ended up in London because she found out about a new technology that tests cancer tissue against different cancer drugs to determine which drug might work best. (A treatment that Mari feels all cancer patients should have access to.)
Read the full story on Mari’s official GOFUNDME page.
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Lavanya (Senior Editor) is a full-time content writer with almost 5 years of experience and a part-time teacher. She joined Medico Topics on the Breaking News trainee scheme in 2022 and now works on MedicoTopics.com. As a lifelong learner, She is constantly curious about learning new things and passionate about sharing knowledge with people through her writing and teaching.