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Bousbir was a kind of erotic-exotic theme park, visited by both the local population and travelers. It was an essential stop on any visit to Casablanca, and hence to Morocco. The Bousbir touristic experience had elements, all at once, of colonial travel, excursions to red-light districts, slumming, and visits to the great works of the French Empire. The appeal of Bousbir was in making available — at the same time morally scandalous and politically admirable — the indigenous female body in an oriental setting.
The history of Bousbir invites us to question the connections between tourism and prostitution, and more specifically between neo colonial tourism and sex tourism.
Bousbir, as it is called, was the red-light district of Casablanca from to Bernard , Mathieu et Maury 1. This bias clearly does not imply that we should ignore the violence suffered by the sex workers 3 who worked there. The phenomenon of Bousbir is not limited to the aspects brought up here, and invites other lines of inquiry Maghraoui , Staszak , Taraud , This seemingly trivial question is the point of departure for this text. If it proves hard to answer, it is true that sources may be lacking, but above all it is difficult to establish criteria by which to determine if a given visitor to Bousbir was, or was not, a tourist.
And finally, what is the sense and relevance in posing this question? This article seeks to interrogate the relations between tourism, colonialism. The second concerns tourist visitation to the district, and the third focuses on the nature of tourist practices in Bousbir. The last part draws out the lessons of colonial tourism in Bousbir so as to examine, on a critical and theoretical level, the relationships between tourism and prostitution.
It was logical that there colonial authorities would seek a modern and rational response to the question of prostitution Maghraoui , and to be expected that they would formulate it in spatial terms. Red-light districts existed in numerous cities of Europe and the colonies, but none had been constructed specifically for this purpose as was Bousbir. The closing off of Bousbir and its placement at the edge of the built-up part of the city guaranteed good conditions for control and a measure of discretion.