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Quentin Williams

Senior Lecturer in Linguistics, University of the Western Cape

Quentin Williams is a Senior Lecturer in the Linguistics Department at UWC. He is a a sociocultural linguist working on extending an approach to multilingualism, culture and society, namely linguistic citizenship, in postcolonial South Africa. He has published papers and book chapters on the performance of multilingualism, popular cultural practices (specifically Hip Hop), agency and voice in urban multilingual spaces. He is an executive member of the Linguistics Society of Southern Africa, is on the editorial board of Sociolinguistic Studies, and is Co-editor of the journal Multilingual Margins: a journal of Multilingualism from the periphery, published by the Centre for Multilingualism and Diversities Research (CMDR).

He recently completed a monograph entitled Remix Multilingualism (Bloomsbury Press, 2017) and is currently editing a volume entitled Kaapse Styles: Hip Hop Art & Activism in Cape Town, South Africa (HSRC Press) with Adam Haupt (UCT), H Samy Alim (UCLA, Los Angelas) and Emile YX? (Heal the Hood, Black Noise). Additionally, he is editing a volume entitled People in Place: Making sense of Linguistic Landscapes with Amiena Peck (UWC) and Christopher Stroud (UWC).

His research interests are:

Popular Culture in Postcolony, specifically Hip Hop
Youth, Race, Gender, Space and Place
Linguistic citizenship
Linguistic Agency, Voice and Marginality

Broadly, he is contributing to the following subfields of Sociolinguistics and Anthropology:

Socioliguistics of Performance
Interactional Sociolinguistics
Sociocultural Linguistics
Linguistic Anthropology

He teaches the following modules:

Language, Identity and Society (2nd year)
Research in language and communication (3rd year)
Literacy Studies (3rd year)
Inter-/Cross-Cultural Communication (Honours)



Williams, Q.E. ​​2017. Remix Multilingualism. London: Bloomsbury Press.

Williams, Q.E., Haupt, A., Alim, H.S., Jansen, E. (manuscript under review, expected 2017). Kaapse Styles: Hip Hop Art and Activism in Cape Town, South Africa. Cape Town: HSRC Press.

Williams, Q.E., Peck, A. and Stroud, C. (under contract, in progress, ​​expected 201​​8). People in place: making sense of Linguistic Landscapes. London: Bloomsbury Press. ​​

Special Issues

Peck, A., Williams, Q.E. and Stroud, C. (eds.). (expected 2018). Special Issue title: Visceral Landscapes. Sociolinguistic Studies. 12(4).​​

Peck, A., Williams, Q.E. and Stroud, C. (eds.). 2015. Special Issue: Multilingual Dislocations​​. Multilingual Margins. Vol. 2 (2).

Williams, Q.E., Alim, H.S. and Haupt, A. (under review, 2017/2018). Hip-Hop Activism and Representational Politics. Journal of World Popular Music. (double special issue).


​​Book Chapters

Williams, Q.E. and Stroud, C. 2017. Linguistic Citizenship: language and politics in postnational modernities. In Milani, T. (ed.). 2017. Language and Citizenship: Broadening the Agenda. (89-112). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Williams, Q.E. 2017. Foreword: African H​​ip Hop Represent! In Clark, Msia. 2017. Hip Hop and Cultural Representations in Africa: Prophets of da City and Dustyfoot Philosophers. USA: Ohio University Press.

Williams, Q.E. 2016. Ethnicity and Extreme Locality in South Africa’s Multilingual Hip-Hop Ciphas. In Alim, H. Samy, Ball, Arnetha, Rickford, John. Raciolinguistics: how language shapes our ideas about race​​. (113-134). Oxford: Oxford University Press.​

Williams, Q.E and Lanza, Elizabeth. 2016. Th​​e visualisation of multilingualism and voice in spaces of consumption: Linguistic landscaping in a South African urban space. In Blackwood, Robert., Woldermariam, Hirut and Lanza, Elizabeth. Negotiating and Contesting Identities in Linguistic Landscapes. (pp. 233-240). London: Bloomsbury Press.

Williams, Q.E. 2015. Emceeing Toughness, Toughing up the Emcee: language and masculine ideology in freestyle rap battles. In Milani, Tommaso. (ed.). 2015. Language and Masculinities: Performances, Intersections, Dislocations. (pp. 77-99). London: Routledge.

Williams, Q.E. 2014. Hip-Hop, graffiti writing and multiple urban identities. In Bock, Z. and Gift, M. (eds.). Language, Society and Communication. (pp. 485-492). Cape Town: ​​Van Schaik Publishers.


Williams, Q.E. 2017​​. Bark, Smoke and Pray: Multilingual Rastafarian-Herb Sellers in a busy subway. Hua, Z., Otjiu, E. and Pennycook, A. (in press). Multilingual, Multisensory and Multimodal repertoires in corner shops, streets and markets. Social Semiotics. Vol. 27. No. 4. pp. 474-494.

Alim, H.S., Lee, J., Carris, M. and Williams, Q.E. 2017. Linguistic Creativity and the production of Cisheteropatriarchy: a comparative analysis of improvised battels in Los Angelas and Cape Town. Special Issue: Deumert, Ana and Swann, Joan. (eds.). (2017). Sociolinguistics and Language Creativity. Language Sciences. Vol. 63.​​

Stroud, C and Williams, Q.E. (in press, 2017). Multilingualism as Utopia: Fashioning Non-Racial​​ Selves. In Lopes, Moita and Baynham, Mike. (eds). ​​Meaning-making in the Periphery. AILA Review.

​​Williams, Q.E. 2016. Multilingual Rastafarian-Herbalists enregisterment of Voice​​ in an informal marketplace. Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics Plus. Vol. 49. 279-299.

Williams, Q.E. 2016. Youth Mul​​tilingualism in South Africa’s Hip-Hop Culture: a metapragmatic analysis. Mensha, Eyo. The Dynamics of Young Language in Africa. Sociolinguistic Studies 10(1): 109-133​​.

Peck, A. Williams, Q.E and Stroud, C. 2015. Introduction: Multilingual Dislocations. Multilingual Margins: a Journal of Multilingualism from the Periphery. 2(2): 2-3.

Stroud, C. and Williams, Q.E. 2015. Ed​​itorial. Multilingual Ma​​rgins: A Journal of Multilingualism from the Periphery. Vol. 2. No. 1. pp. 2-3.

Williams, Q.E. and Stroud, C. 2015. Linguistic citizenship: language and politics in postnational modernities. Journal of Language and Politics. 14(3): 406-430.

Williams, Q.E. 2014. Book Review Summary of Gender and Language in Sub-Saharan Africa: tradition, struggle and change. Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies.

Williams, Q.E. and Stroud, C. 2014. Battli​​ng race: stylizing language and the coproduction of whiteness and colouredness in a freestyle rap battle. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology. Vol. 24. No. 3. pp. 277-293.

Williams, Q.E. and Stroud, C. 2014. Editorial. Multilingual Margins: A Journal of Multilingualism from the Periphery. Vol. 1. No. 1. pp. 3-6.

Williams, Q.E. and Stroud, C. 2014. Multilingualism Remixed: sampling texts, braggadocio and the politics of voice in Cape Town Hip-Hop. African Studies. vol. 73 (1). (voted by the Editors as one of the fifteen best articles published in the journal ever).

Williams, Q.E. and Stroud, C. 2013. Multilingualism Remixed: samplin​​g texts, braggadocio and the politics of voice in Cape Town Hip-Hop. Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics. Vol. 42. pp. 15-36.​​

Williams, Q.E. and Stroud, C. 2013. Multilingualism in Transformative Spaces. Language Policy. Vol. 12. No. 4. pp. 289-311.

Williams, Q.E. 2012. The Enregisterment of English in Rap Braggadocio: a study from English-Afrikaans bilingualism in Cape Town. English Today. Vol. 28. No. 2. pp. 54-59 (ISSN: 1474-0567)

Williams, Q.E. and Stroud, C. 2010. Performing Rap Ciphas in late-modern Cape Town: Extreme Locality and Multilingual Citizenship. Afrika Focus. Vol. 23. No. 2. pp. 39-59.

Newspaper​​ Articles

Williams, QE. 2016. AfriKaaps is an act of Reclamation. Mail and Guardian. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


  • –present
    Senior Lecturer in Linguistics, University of the Western Cape

Grants and Contracts

  • 2018
    Senior Lecturer in Linguistics
    Funding Source:
    National Research Foundation