In Claude McKay’s Romance in Marseille, the entanglement of Spain and Morocco emerges through the diasporic figure of Aslima, the Moroccan sex worker. This essay examines McKay’s Maurophilia, which he circuitously refers to as “Afro-Orientalism” in his various writings. Maurophilia not only foregrounds Aslima’s associations with Spain and Morocco but also highlights McKay’s engagement with transhistorical Mediterranean diasporas, including the intra-African slave trade and Iberian Moriscos and conversos settling in North Africa following the Reconquista. This essay argues that while Aslima’s associations with Moorish-Iberian performance styles influence McKay’s modernist poetics and radical aspirations for a global pandiasporic Black alliance, Romance in Marseille ultimately forecloses the prospect of a pan-Mediterranean, Black Atlantic globalism because of contradictions of gender and religion.

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