|About the Book|
The first anthropological monograph published on the Vulaa people of south-eastern Papua New Guinea, The Shark Warrior of Alewai considers oral histories and Western historical documents that cover a period of more than 200 years in the light of an ethnography of contemporary Christianity. Van Heekerens phenomenology of Vulaa storytelling reveals how the life of one man, the Shark Warrior, comes to contain the identity of a people. Drawing on the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, she goes on to establish the essential continuities that underpin the reproduction of Vulaa identity, and to demonstrate how these give a distinctive form to Vulaa responses to historical change. In an approach that brings together the fields of Anthropology, History and Philosophy, the book questions conventional anthropological categories of exchange, gender and kinship, as well as the problematic dichotomization of myth and history, to argue for an anthropology grounded in ontology.