Press Release - Exhibition on Junípero Serra and the California Missions Opens Aug. 17 (Bio: Steven W. Hackel)

August 08, 2013

  Exhibition Co-Curator: Steven W. Hackel

Exhibition Co-Curator Steven W. Hackel

Steven W. Hackel, associate professor of history at the University of California, Riverside, specializes in the California missions, California Indians, colonial America, the American West, and the Spanish Borderlands. Over the last two decades, he has emerged as a leading scholar of Spanish California through his research integrating colonial California into larger currents of scholarship and his central role in creating new resources for the study of the region. Hackel’s work on this exhibition is the culmination of more than 20 years of research at the Huntington Library on Spanish California and California Indians.


Hackel is the author of the highly anticipated biography Junípero Serra: California’s Founding Father. Based on extensive research in archives in Mallorca, Spain, Mexico, and California, this groundbreaking study is the most comprehensive biography of Serra in 50 years and the first to remove Serra from the realm of polemic and place him within his historical context. It is slated for release in early September 2013 by Hill and Wang, a division of Farrar, Straus & Giroux.


Hackel’s award-winning first book, Children of Coyote, Missionaries of Saint Francis: Indian-Spanish Relations in Colonial California, 1769-1850 (2005), is a sweeping examination of Spanish California centered on Indian life in Mission San Carlos, the mission that Serra established in Monterey in 1770. Hackel is the author of 20 articles on Spanish California and the editor of a volume of essays on colonial California, Alta California: People in Motion, Identities in Formation, which was published by the Huntington Library Press in 2010. He is the general editor of The Huntington’s Early California Population Project, a database of the baptism, marriage, and burial records from all 21 of California’s missions, and the director of the Early California Cultural Atlas, an NEH-funded spatial history of colonial California. Hackel is a member of the board of directors of the California Missions Foundation, the California Missions Studies Association, and the Historical Society of Southern California.


Hackel was born and raised in California and received his B.A. with Distinction at Stanford University in International Relations and his Ph.D. in American History from Cornell University. He lives in Pasadena, Calif.


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