Alumni News: New Book by Shaw (1968)

July 15, 2022
Book Cover for Singins Samo Songs

Alum Dan Shaw (M.A. SoA 1968) has a new book out from Carolina Academic Press, in the Ritual Studies Monograph Series (Andrew Strathern and Pamela Stewart, eds.) titled Singing Samo Songs: From Shaman to Pastor.

Dr. Shaw’s other Samo ethnographies were noted when they appeared back in 1990 (Kandila: Samo Ceremonialism and Interpersonal Relationships. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press) and 1995 (From Longhouse to Village: Samo Social ChangeCase Studies in Anthropology Series, George Spindler and Louise Spindler, eds. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace).

Dr. Shaw received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Missiology at their annual meetings a Notre Dame University this past June. He writes, “I am deeply honored and humbled!”

Overview: Why did the Samo respond positively to Bible translation but largely reject the mission approach to Christianity? A strong self-identity reflected in song types as well as ritual and ceremony the Samo use to order their lives provides answers of interest to anthropologists and missiologists alike…Dan Shaw’s work in this book takes us along an intricate and painstaking road of discovery and spiritual growth. Through the work of translation, he enters into a continuing dialogue and a search for enlightenment shared with his Samo interlocutors, including the convergence between the shaman and the pastor, and the ever-present ecological stresses that both these figures have had to combat in a difficult and precarious environment (from the editors’ preface).

Acclaim for the book: Anthropologist, Bambi Schieffelin, who worked in a nearby area, notes in her endorsement: “In this ‘double memoir’…Dan Shaw chronicles over five decades of working with and learning from the Samo people of Papua New Guinea. Narrating challenges and choices he and they made through Bible translation, he illuminates how the Samo became who they are today.” Bambi B Schieffelin, Professor Emerita of Anthropology, New York University

Check it out on Amazon or CAP website (CAP - Singing Samo Songs: From Shaman to Pastor (9781531023799). Authors: R. Daniel Shaw. Carolina Academic Press (