Date of Award
Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. As its economy has moved away from local industries like fishing and farming, it has become increasingly reliant on the money of tourists, summer people, second homeowners, and retirees. This transformation has brought a whole host of problems to the Cape, including a monumental housing crisis, high rates of opioid overdose fatalities, rapidly accelerating suburbanization and gentrification, and mass environmental devastation. One of the gravest and most frequently overlooked consequences is that of memory and culture. Through the Cape’s transformation into a vacation destination, locals have lost control of the ability to control our narrative. Whether that means the freedom to publicize the problems tourism and second homeownership have brought to the Cape, or agency over our history and cultural identities outside of kitch and souvenirs, the identities and struggles of Cape Codders have been hidden under layers of commodified nautica and colonial, capitalist lies about progress and development. This thesis shines a light on the underbelly of Cape Cod, analyzing the consequences of our increasingly unstable economy as well as confronting what it means to be a Cape Codder. Based off of my own experiences as a 14th-generation Cape Codder, as well as the voices of fellow locals I interviewed, it is clear that we must begin prioritizing the needs of our community before it’s too late.
Raymond, Coco, "Bound Away: Tourism, Culture, and Rethinking the Archive on Cape Cod" (2019). Senior Theses. 1371.
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