The California missions have been increasingly recognized as a complex heritage, fraught with tensions and confrontations. Unlike early twentieth-century homogenizing narratives, which have been termed the “Spanish Fantasy past,”1 there is now a greater recognition and understanding of the implications that the missions have for a range of communities, including—but not restricted to—Native and Mexican American ones. No longer considered an unambiguous symbol, missions have become the center of revisionist interpretations, including the Critical Mission Studies (CMS) project. This initiative, created and supported by the University of California, Office of the President (MRPI Critical Mission Studies grant), has as its purpose to reconsider the interpretation of the missions through the incorporation of new voices, and to facilitate “public engagements with difficult and traumatic histories.”2

The following essay will argue that CMS can be greatly enriched by (1)...

You do not currently have access to this content.