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 Dr. Quentin Williams

Position: Senior Lecturer
Department: Department of Linguistics
Faculty: Faculty of Arts
Qualifications: BA, BA (Hons), MA, PhD (UWC)
Tel: +27219599398
Fax: 086 767 8070


 Quentin Williams is a Senior Lecturer in the Linguistics Department at UWC. He is a sociolinguist 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 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 finished editing Neva Again: Hip Hop Art, Activism and Education in post-apartheid South Africa (HSRC Press) with Adam Haupt (UCT), H Samy Alim (UCLA, Los Angeles) and Emile YX? (Heal the Hood, Black Noise) published by HSRC Press (2019), and Making Sense of People and Place in Linguistic Landscapes with Amiena Peck (UWC) and Christopher Stroud (UWC) by Bloomsbury Press (2018). He is currently finishing an edited volume on Multilingualism and Linguistic Citizenship with Tommaso Milani (Gothenburg, Wits) and Ana Deumert (UCT), under contract with Multilingual Matters. He is also finishing a monograph on multilingualism and race.

2018 Publications Award 2017 for Scholarly Monographs, Faculty of Arts, UWC
2018 Academic Achievers Award: Emerging Researcher in the Faculty of Arts, UWC.
2017 UMSAEP Mobility Award to University of Missouri, Columbia (for 2018)

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.

Haupt, A., Williams, Q.E., Alim, H.S. and Jansen, E. (eds.). 2019​​. Neva Again: Hip Hop Art, Activism and Education in post-apartheid South Africa​. Cape Town: HSRC Press. 

Peck, A., Stroud, C. and Williams, QE. (eds.). 201​​8. Making Sense of People and Place in​​ Linguistic Landscapes​​​. London: Bloomsbury Press. ​​

Williams, Q.E., Milani, T. and Deumert, A. (eds.). (under contract, 2019). Multilingualism and Linguistic Citizenship: Education, Narratives and Episteme. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

​​Special Issues

Peck, A., Williams, Q.E. and Stroud, C. (eds.). (in press, 2019). Special Issue title: Visceral Landscapes. Sociolinguistic Studies. 13(1).​​

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. 2018. Hip-Hop Activism and Representational Politics. Journal of World Popular Music. (double special issue) 5(1/​2).

​​​​​​Book Chapters

Williams, Q.E., Haupt, A., Alim, H.A and Jansen, E. 2019. Introduction: Neva Again: Hip Hop Art, Activism and Education in post-apartheid South Africa. In Haupt, A.  Williams, Q., H Samy Alim and Emile Jansen (eds.). 2019. Neva Again: Hip Hop Art, Activism and Education in post-apartheid, South Africa. (pp. 1-20). Cape Town: HSRC Press.

​​Williams, Q.E. 2019. Hip Hop Language Critique as Sociolinguistic Activism. In Haupt, A.  Williams, Q., H Samy Alim and Emile Jansen (eds.) (in press, 2019). Neva Again: Hip Hop Art, Activism and Education in post-apartheid, South Africa. (pp. 233-248). Cape Town: HSRC Press.

Peck, A. and Williams, Q.E. 2018. Skinscapes and Frictions: an analysis of Zef Hip Hop Culture “Stoeka Style” Tattoos in South Africa. Peck, A. Williams, Q.E and Stroud, C. (eds). 2018. Making Sense of People and Place in Linguistic Landscapes. (pp. 91-106). London: Bloomsbury Press.

Williams, Q.E. 2018. Foreword: African H​​ip Hop Represent! In Clark, Msia. 2018. Hip Hop and Cultural Representations in Africa: Prophets of da City and Dustyfoot Philosophers. (xi-xvii). ​​USA: Ohio University Press.

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. 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 idea​​s 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.



Weldemichael, T., Peck, A. and Williams, Q.E. (in press, 2019). Changing Tastes on the Linguistic Landscape of Asmara, Eritrea​​. Sociolinguistic Studies 13(1).

Stroud, C., Peck, A. and Williams, Q. (in press, 2019). Introduction: Visceral landscapes (the inside story). Sociolinguistic Studies 13(1).

Haupt, A. Williams, Q.E. and Alim, H.S. 2018. Introduction: "Hip Hop, En-Voicing and Agency. Journal of World Popular Music. 5(2): 147-151. 

Haupt, A., Williams, Q.E. and Alim, H.S. 2018. Introduction: “It´s bigger than Hip Hop”. Journal of World Popular Music. 5(1): 9-14.

Williams, Q.E. 2018. Multilingual Hip Hop Activism. Journal of World Popular Music 5(1): 31-49.

Alim, H.S., Lee, J., Carris, M. and Williams, Q.E. 2018. Linguistic Creativity and the production of Cisheteropatriarchy: a comparative analysis of improvised battels in Los Angelas and Cape Town. Language Sciences65: 58-69.​​​

​​Stroud, C and Williams, Q.E. 2017. Multilingualism as Utopia: Fashioning Non-Racial​​ Selves. In Lopes, Moita and Baynham, Mike. (eds). ​​Meaning-making in the Periphery. AILA Review. Vol. 30: 165-186.

Milani, T., Williams, Q and Stroud, C. 2017. Editorial: Space/Place Matters. Multilingual Margins. 4(1): 2-6.

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.

​​Williams, Q.E. 2016. Multilingual Rastafarian-Herbalists enregisterment of Voice​​ in an informal marketplace. S​​tellenbosch 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 and Interview​​​​​s

Interviewed for Article: Viral Poem Celebrates AfriKaaps and those who speak it​. Cape Argus. 2019

Koketso Sachane interviews Quentin Williams on Cape Hip Hop activism, on Prophets of tha City. 2018​​​

Williams, Q.E. 2018. Cape Hip Hop keeps alive tradition of rapping in the voices of the “less thans”. The Conversation (online).

Msia Clark interviews Quentin Williams for Hip Hop Africa Podcast​​​. 2018. 

Interview About Remix Multilingualism published on CaMP Anthropology​​​. 2018. 

Williams, Q.E. 2017. Listen with ears and hearts wide open: lessons from Rastafarian multilingualism. The Conversation (online). 

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



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