Once Upon a Time Is Now: A Kalahari Memoir (Paperback)
Fifty years after her first fieldwork with Ju/'hoan San hunter-gatherers, anthropologist Megan Biesele has written this exceptional memoir based on personal journals she wrote at the time.
The treasure trove of vivid learning experiences and nightly ponderings she found has led to a memoir of rare value to anthropology students and academics as well as to general readers. Her experiences focus on the long-lived healing dance, known to many as the trance dance, and the intricate beliefs, artistry, and social system that support it.
She describes her immersion in a creative community enlivened and kept healthy by that dance, which she calls "one of the great intellectual achievements of humankind."
From the Preface:
A few years ago I finally got around to looking back into the box of personal field journals I had not opened for over forty years. I found a treasure trove. It was an overwhelming experience. So much that I had forgotten came vividly alive: I laughed, wept, and was terrified all over again at my temerity in taking on what I had taken on. To do justice to the richness of these notebooks, I realized, I would have to do a completely different sort of writing from anything I had ever done before.