Robert Daum

Research Interests

Dr. Robert Daum is an active research collaborator and practitioner in university and inter-university initiatives focused on theory and practice of cultural creativity, transcultural dialogue, and interdisciplinary collaboration. He has published on aspects of critical theory, poetics and narratology of classical rabbinic literature, historiography of religions, cultural studies, gender studies, and public policy.

Current Research Coordinates

  1. Fellow (Diversity and Innovation), Centre for Dialogue, Simon Fraser University.
  2. Co-lead / Co-Principal Investigator with Associate Professor Francisco Peña (Faculty of Creative & Critical Studies, UBC Okanagan Campus) in the Cultural Symbioses Project, an international research consortium of nine interdisciplinary teams of researchers at 21 leading universities in nine countries. Within the Project he is also co-leading the theory cluster.
  3. Collaborator in a SSHRC Partnership Development Project, “Evolving the Botanic Garden: Digital Environmental and Cultural Interpretation at the Edmonton Devonian Botanic Garden’s New Islamic Garden,” directed by Associate Professor Hussein Keshani (Faculty of Creative & Critical Studies, UBC Okanagan Campus), the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, and The University of Alberta Devonian Botanic Garden.

Robert A. Daum, PhD is a Fellow at SFU’s Centre for Dialogue, where he focuses on diversity and innovation in postsecondary institutions and in cities, having previously served as a Dialogue Associate and member of the Centre’s Academic Steering Committee.

At UBC he advises the Office of Vice President, Students on diversity strategies and initiatives. He is a Faculty Associate of the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice, an Adjunct Faculty member in the Department of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies, a Faculty Member of the Green College Common Room, and a member of the Sikh and Punjabi Studies Review Committee for the Faculty of Arts.

From 2009-2014 he was Founding Executive Director of Iona Pacific Inter-religious Centre and Associate Professor of Rabbinic Literature & Jewish Thought at Vancouver School of Theology, and from 2002-2009 he occupied the Diamond Chair in Jewish Law & Ethics at UBC.

In the community he is a Director of The Laurier Institution and a Founding Director of Reconciliation Canada.

For the City of Vancouver, he is a Co-convenor of the Intercultural & Civic Engagement Strategy Group for the Vancouver Immigration Partnership.

For the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, he is a guest editor and member of the editorial advisory of Directions, its research and policy journal.

He has presented his research at universities and conferences in Canada, the United States, the People’s Republic of China, Spain, and France.


Centre for the Comparative Study of Muslim Societies and Cultures, Simon Fraser University and Aga Khan University, July 19 – 30, 2010. Certificate Program: “Expressions of Diversity: An Introduction to Muslim Cultures.”

University of California, Berkeley, 1989 – 2001. Ph.D., Near Eastern Studies / Program in Jewish Studies (Supervisors: D. Boyarin, D. Biale, E. Gruen; Advanced with Distinction by Examiners: R. Alter, D. Boyarin, D. Biale, and T. A. Brady, Jr.). Dissertation: “Describing Yavneh: The Foundational Traditions of Rabbinic Judaism.” Kanter-Krakow Prize for Jewish Studies. United Jewish Centre, Connecticut, 1993 and 1994.

Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, Jerusalem, 1981 – 1982; New York, 1982 – 1986. M.A., Hebrew Literature (1984), Rabbinic Ordination (1986). Thesis: “Reconstructing the Early Jewish Debate about Kant.” Rabbi Jerome Malino Annual Award in Bible, 1984 and 1985, The Samuel Ellenson Memorial Prize in Jewish Philosophy, 1984, Rabbi Hugo Hahn Memorial Prize in Bible, 1984, Rebeka Kohut Prize in Bible, 1983.

Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts, 1975 – 1979. B.A. (Magna cum laude, Special Departmental Honours, Dean’s List) Major: Political Science. Thesis: “On What Terms Union?: Language Policies and National Integration in the Multi-Ethnic State: A Comparative Study of India and the Soviet Union.”

Honorary Degrees

Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (Los Angeles). Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, Los Angeles, California. May 16, 2011.




Refereed Publications

Edited Volumes: 

2011. The Calling of the Nations: Exegesis, Ethnography, and Empire in a Biblical- Historic Present. Mark Vessey, Harry O. Maier, Sharon V. Betcher, Robert Daum, eds. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press).

Chapters in Books: 

2011. “Recalling the Nation’s Terrain: Narrative, Territory, and Canon.” In The Calling of the Nations: Exegesis, Ethnography, and Empire in a Biblical-Historic Present. Mark Vessey, Harry O. Maier, Sharon V. Betcher, Robert Daum, eds. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press): 102 – 138.

2007. “Crossing Cruci-fictional Boundaries: Transgressive tropes in Potok’s My Name is Asher Lev.” In Jesus in Twentieth Century Literature, Art, and Movies. Paul Burns, ed. (New York: Continuum, 2007): 155 – 174.


2014. “Captivity, Masculinity and Degradation in an Early Rabbinic Tale.” Special issue on religion and masculinities. Religious Studies and Theology: Interdisciplinary Studies in Religion 33.2 (2014): 141-155.

2011. “Rhetorical Form and Didactic Content in a Rabbinic Poem.” Jewish Quarterly Review 101.1 (Winter 2011): 1–26. (Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania).

2006. “‘Verbal Wronging’: An Analysis of Speech Banned in m.Bava Metzi’a 4:10.” Florilegium (23.1): 173–199.

1986. “Two Views on Authority: Bleich and Borowitz.” Journal of Reform Judaism  [formerly CCAR Journal] (33:2): 55–64.

1979. “Congress Party of India: Level of Institutionalization.” Hemispheres (Medford, Massachusetts: Tufts University Council of International Affairs): 10 – 20.

Encyclopedia Entries:

2011. “Tosefta.” In The Cambridge Dictionary of Jewish History, Religion, and Culture. Judith Baskin, ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press): 612 – 613.


Non-refereed Publications

2015. “ ‘Intersectionality’ and Vulnerable Populations.” Feature article in Language Instruction Support and Training Network Newsletter 30 (Spring 2015): 4. (Funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.)

2014. “Who is welcoming whom?: Beyond Tolerance and Acceptance in the Workplace.” Cultures West 31:2. (Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Services Agencies of BC.)

2014. Project Lead, UBC Transcultural Leaders. A short documentary film directed by Natasha Wheatley and Mathew Arthur. Office of the Vice-President Students, The University of British Columbia.

1999. Editorial Committee, Guide to Jewish Customs and Practices for the Employer and Educator (Vancouver: Canadian Jewish Congress).