Researchers at UCD


Gillian Pye


School Of Languages and Literature
Newman Building
Dublin 4

Tel: +353 1 7168180


After completing my PhD at the University of Sheffield in 1998 I was employed as temporary Assistant Lecturer in German at UCD before being appointed to a permanent position in the year 2000. My work focuses on twentieth century German literature and society and I am especially interested in prose literature since the fall of the wall and contemporary women writers.

Both my research and teaching have a strong interdisciplinary focus: my PhD dissertation 'Aspects of Comedy in Contemporary Dramas' combined psychoanalytic, literary and anthropological perspectives in the study of comedy as textual strategy in German-language plays of the 1980's and 1990's. My current research project applies anthropological theories of material culture to the analysis of recent prose texts. This interdisciplinary focus has also been reflected in research events I have organised such as the seminar series and international conference on 'Belonging' (2011-2012, co-organised with Dr Alison Ribeiro de Menezes), and the international conference Trash (2010), both of which drew together perspectives from fields as diverse as architecture, sociology, literary studies, cultural studies and visual art. My interest in the built environment and visual culture has also been reflected in activities such as the lecture series and symposium 'Architecture and its Metaphors' (2004-2005, co-organised with Dr Douglas Smith and Prof Hugh Campbell) and undergraduate modules such as 'Bauhaus'.

My teaching is strongly informed by my research interests and in addition, I seek to employ methodologies that integrate the teaching of the German language with cultural and literary studies. I have also been active in the combination of practical drama skills with language learning: I co-initiatied and co-organised the UCD European Drama Week (with Dr Siofra Pierse, Department of French 2001 and 2002) and co-ordinated several student German drama productions (Mann ist Mann, 2000-2001, Die Räuber 2001-2002: both productions were invited to take part in the annual Student German Drama Festival in the UK [Bristol 2001, London 2002]).

As a graduate of a modern languages BA degree (German, Dutch, French: University of Sheffield, 1992) I have a firm commitment to cross-cultural and comparative teaching across the languages offered in the School of Languages and Literatures at UCD. Since 2007, I have played a leading role in the design and delivery of a new denominated entry programme DN541 BA International Modern Languages (launched September 2009) and have been closely involved in the development and implementation of an innovative modern languages curriculum, which aims to nurture a high degree of intercultural and linguistic competence in students.




Association: Association of European Germanists' Societies, Function/Role: Ireland Representative
Association: German Studies Association of Ireland, formerly Association of Third Level Teachers of German in Ireland, Function/Role: Co-Chair
Association: Women in German Studies, Function/Role: Ireland Representative

Conference Contributions

Gillian Pye (2013) Acceleration and the poetics of materiality in Angela Krauß Im Schönsten Fall. [Invited Lecture], Faster than Light: Experience, Identity and Memory in an Age of Acceleration, Warwick University, UK , 07-MAR-13 - 09-MAR-13.
Gillian Pye (2014) Hoarding and the Home in Recent Literary Narratives. [Oral Presentation], Domestic Imaginaries. Homes in Film, Literature and Popular Culture, Nottingham University, UK , 21-JAN-14 - 21-JAN-14.
Pye, Gillian (2012) Organiser, International Conference. [Conference Organising Committee Chairperson], About Time: Conceptualising and Representing Temporality in German Austrian and Swiss Culture, UCD and Goethe Institut Dublin , 28-JUN-12 - 30-JUN-12.
Pye, Gillian (2012) Co-Organiser, International Conference. [Conference Organising Committee Member], Belonging, UCD , 08-JUN-12 - 09-JUN-12.
Pye, Gillian (2011) Co-Organiser: Workshop on Belonging. [Conference Organising Committee Member], Negotiating Time and Place Research Strand: Workshop on Belonging, UCD , 07-JUN-12 - 07-JUN-12.
Pye, Gillian (2011) Belongings: materiality and identity in recent German writing. [Oral Presentation], Belonging Workshop, UCD , 07-JUN-12 - 07-JUN-12.
Pye, G (2011) Belongings: materiality and identity in recent German women's writing. [Oral Presentation], Women in German Studies, 23rd Annual Meeting, University of Leeds, UK , 11-NOV-11 - 12-NOV-11.
Heffernan, Valerie; Pye, Gillian (2011) Transitions: Women's writing in the twenty-first century. [Invited Oral Presentation], Larissa Boehning Workshop, University of Liverpool, UK , 09-APR-11 - 10-APR-11.
Gillian Pye; (2010) Material World: Objects and Identity in Twenty-first Century German Novels. [Invited Oral Presentation], Twenty-First Century European Literature: Mapping New Trends, University of St. Andrews, Scotland , 15-SEP-10 - 17-SEP-10.
Pye, Gillian (2010) Everyday things: the substance of identity in Post-Wende Literature. [Invited Oral Presentation], Association for German Studies in Great Britain and Ireland, University of Reading , 29-MAR-10 - 31-MAR-10.
Pye, Gillian (2010) Jenny Erpenbeck and the life of things. [Oral Presentation], Emerging women writers, NUI Maynooth , 16-APR-10 - 16-APR-10.
Gillian Pye and Valerie Heffernan; (2010) Co-Organiser: One day workshop on contemporary German women writers. [Conference Organising Committee Member], Emerging Women Writers, National University of Ireland Maynooth , 16-APR-10 - 04-APR-10.
Gillian Pye; (2009) Contamination and Territories of Disappearance. [Invited Oral Presentation], Re-Imagining the Nation: Transformations of German Cultural Identity since 1989, Dublin , 22-OCT-09 - 24-OCT-09.
Gillian Pye; (2009) Trash, memory and the obsolete: remembering and material culture in recent German novels. [Invited Oral Presentation], Twenty Years On: Remembering the GDR and Germany¿s Unification Process, University of Bath, UK , 14-SEP-09 - 16-SEP-09.
Gillian Pye; (2008) International Conference. [Conference Organising Committee Chairperson], The Aesthetics of Trash, UCD , 04-SEP-08 - 06-SEP-08.
Gillian Pye; (2008) Matter out of place: rubbish as theme and metaphor in literary narratives of the GDR. [Invited Oral Presentation], Culture and Crisis workshop, University of Konstanz, Germany , 10-OCT-08 - 11-OCT-08.
Gillian Pye; (2008) Matter out of place: rubbish as theme and metaphor in literary narratives of the GDR. [Invited Oral Presentation], Imagining Space, UCD , 03-OCT-08 - 04-OCT-08.
Pye, Gillian; (2007) Emotive Enclosures Session Chair. [Chaired Session], Defining Space, Newman House, UCD , 11-OCT-07 - 13-OCT-07.
Pye, Gillian; (2007) Mythologies at 50: Barthes and Popular Culture Session Chair. [Chaired Session], Mythologies at 50: Barthes and Popular Culture, Humanities Institute of Ireland, UCD , 20-APR-07 - 20-APR-07.
Pye, Gillian ; (2007) 'Allerlei Geschichtsgeruempel': Rubbish and Remembering in Post-Wende Germany. [Invited Lecture], Association of Third Level German Teachers in Ireland, IT Tallaght , 13-OCT-07 - 13-OCT-07.
Pye, Gillian ; (2005) Pop-Literature and the Archive: Andreas Neumeister and the Reconstruction of History. [Oral Presentation], M/MLA Annual Convention: Between Memory and History Panel, Milwaukee, US , 11-NOV-05 - 13-NOV-05.
Gillian Pye; (2004) Rubbish Collection: Preserving the Past in the Text. [N/A], 'Memory Contests: Cultural Memory, Hybridity and Identity in German Discourses since 1990, International Conference, UCD, University Colleg Dublin , 01-JUN-04.
Gillian Pye; (2003) Herbert Achternbusch and the Junk Aesthetic: Der Stiefel und sein Socken. [Invited Oral Presentation], Conference of University Teachers of Great Britain and Ireland, NUI Maynooth , 01-SEP-03.
Gillian Pye; (2002) Ein asoziales Theater?: Herbert Achternbusch and the Comedy of Anarchy. [Oral Presentation], Ich will anders sein, International conference, , Nottingham Trent University, UK , 01-JUL-02.


Employer: University College Dublin
Position: College Lecturer
Employer: University College Dublin
Position: Assistant Lecturer
Employer: University of Sheffield, England
Position: Postgraduate Teaching Assistant




Client: University of Ulster

Outreach Activities

June 2013 and June 2014. Delivery of taster course on language learning as part of UCD summer school. 
May/June 2012:
Member of organising committee: summer school for 2nd level students interested in studying languages at 3rd level. Date of event: 5th June 2012.
  • Together with Dr Paul Rankin and Dr Charo Hernandez, development and delivery of workshop on 'Skills for language learning'
  • Together with Dr Sabine Krobb: design and delivery of an introductory session: studying languages at 3rd level.
During the academic years 2001/2002 and 2003/2004, together with colleagues from the German Department in UCD I took a central role in the design and delivery of taster courses in German for transition year students from schools in Dublin and beyond. In the second year of the scheme, we also offered a workshop for second-level teachers  of German. The event was extremely successful, with demand far outstripping the number of places available.

Journals Edited

Germanistik In Irland: Editor.



Gillian Pye; (2002) Approaches to Comedy in German Drama. : Mellen. [Details]

Book Chapters

Gillian Pye (2013) 'Materiality and Ethics in Recent German Prose Narratives by Angelika Overath and Angela Krauss' In: Jeremiah, Emily and Frauke Matthes (eds). Ethical Approaches in Contemporary German-Language Literature and Culture. Rochester, NY and London: Camden House. , pp.47-64 [Details]
Gillian Pye (2013) 'Jenny Erpenbeck and the Life of Things' In: Valerie Heffernan and Gillian Pye (eds). Transitions: Emerging Women Writers in German-language Literature. Amsterdam, New York: Rodopi. , pp.111-130 [Details]
Valerie Heffernan and Gillian Pye (2013) 'Trends and Transitions in Contemporary German-language Writing by Women' In: Valerie Heffernan and Gillian Pye (eds). Transitions: Emerging Women Writers in German-language Literature. Amsterdam, New York: Rodopi. , pp.1-34 [Details]
Gillian Pye (2011) 'Matter Out of Place: Trash and Transition in Clemens Meyer's Als wir träumten' In: Renate Rechtien and Dennis Tate (eds). Twenty Years On: Competing Memories of the GDR in Postunification German Culture. Rochester, NY: Camden House. , pp.126-138 [Details]
Gillian Pye; (2010) 'Introduction: Trash as Cultural Category' In: Gillian Pye (eds). Trash Culture: Objects and Obsolescence in Cultural Perspective. Oxford, Bern: Peter Lang. , pp.1-13 [Details]
Gllian Pye ; (2006) 'Ethik and Ausnahme. Machtspiele in Marlene Streeruwitz' Theatertexten am Beispiel von Waikiki Beach'' In: David Barnett, Moray McGowan and Karen Jürs-Munby (eds) (eds). Das Analoge sträubt sich gegen das Digitale. Berlin: Theater der Zeit. , pp.113-127 [Details]
Gillian Pye; (2002) 'Constructing Germany: Architecture and Cultural Identity' In: Alison Phipps (eds). Contemporary German Cultural Studies. Arnold: London. [Details]
Gillian Pye; (2002) 'Haunting the Self: Herbert Achternbusch's Ella' In: Anne Fuchs a. Edric Caldicott (eds). Cultural Memory. Essays on European History and Literature. Oxford, Bern etc: Lang. [Details]
Pye, G.; (1998) 'Good Exchangers? Comedy and Communication in Botho Strauß Trilogie des Wiedersehens' In: R. J. Kavanagh (eds). Mutual Exchanges: Sheffield - Münster Colloquium I. Lang: Frankfurt. [Details]

Edited Books

Gillian Pye and Sabine Krobb (Ed.). (2014) Imagining Alternatives. Utopias - Dystopias - Heterotopias. Germanistik in Ireland Vol 9. Konstanz, Germany: Hartung-Gorre Verlag. [Details]
Gillian Pye and Sabine Strümper-Krobb (Ed.). (2013) About Time: Conceptualizing and Representing Temporality in German, Swiss and Austrian Culture. Konstanz: Hartung-Gorre. [Details]
Valerie Heffernan and Gillian Pye (Ed.). (2013) Transitions: Emerging Women Writers in German-language Literature. Amsterdam, New York: Rodopi. [Details]
Gillian Pye (Ed.). (2010) Trash Culture: Objects and Obsolescence in Cultural Perspective. Oxford, Bern: Peter Lang. [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

Gillian Pye and Sabine Krobb (2014) 'Imagining Alternatives Utopias - Dystopias - Heterotopias: Introduction'. Germanistik in Irland, 9 :5-12. [Details]
Pye, G (2012) 'Trash and Transformation: The Search for Identity in Wolfgang Hilbig's Die Kunde von den Baumen and Alte Abdeckerei'. New German Critique, :87-102. [DOI] [Details]
Gillian Pye and Sabine Krobb (2013) 'About Time: Conceptualizing and Representing Temporality in German, Swiss and Austrian Culture. Introduction'. Germanistik in Irland, 8 :5-10. Link to full text [Details]
Gillian Pye; (2011) 'Ulf Erdmann Ziegler: Belonging in a Material World'. Germanistik in Irland, 6 :71-85. [Details]
Gillian Pye and Siobhan Donovan; (2010) 'Schreiben und Komponieren: Elfriede Jelinek's 'Rosamunde''. Austrian Studies, 17 :179-192. [Details]
Gillian Pye; (2008) 'Trash Objects, History and Memory: Theorizing Rubbish with Wolfgang Hilbig'. German Life and Letters, 61 (2):261-278. Available Online [Details]
Gllian Pye ; (2006) 'Anxiety and the Archive: Constructing Value and Identity in the Pop-Lit. Novels Soloalbum and Generation Golf'. German Life and Letters, 59 (2):309-322. [Details]
Pye, G; (2006) 'Comedy Theory and the Postmodern'. Humor, 19 (1):53-70. [Details]

Conference Publications

Pye, G (2006) GERMAN LIFE AND LETTERS Anxiety and the archive: Constructing value and identity in the pop-lit novels Soloalbum and Generation Golf , pp.309-322 [Details]

Guest Lectures

Gillian Pye; (2004) Rubbish Theory. Guest Lectures [Details]
Gillian Pye; (2003) Rubbish Collection: Herbert Achternbusch. Guest Lectures [Details]
Gillian Pye; (2002) Introduction to Bertolt Brecht. Guest Lectures [Details]

Book Reviews

Gillian Pye (2014) Religion in Contemporary German Drama. London: Book Reviews [Details]
Pye, G (2007) Introduction to the German Comedy. Book Reviews [Details]
Pye, G (2011) Deirdre Byrnes, Re-reading Monika Maron: Text, Counter Text and Context. Germanistik in Irland , Vol 6: Book Reviews [Details]
Gillian Pye; (2007) Book review: Georg-Michael Schulz: Einführung in die deutsche Komödie. Tübingen, Basel: Book Reviews [Details]


Research Interests

My research interests include twentieth century drama and theories of comedy, new German-language writing and theories of pop and material culture, the built environment and cultural identity.

I am currently working on a project which deals with the role of material culture and identities in transition in German literature of the last two decades.



Teaching Philosophy

Central to my teaching philosophy is 'learning to learn'. I seek to promote this goal by supporting and enhancing learner motivation. This is particularly important as the acquisition of a second language and the concomitant need to adopt a 'L2 identity' can have deep impact on learner self-image and confidence.

Enhancement of Teaching

My teaching practice is informed by my conviction that building student motivation and supporting autonomous learning are central tasks in modern languages training. This involves the careful design of learning materials, which encourage students to continue to build their language skills outside of the classroom. Recently, for example together with colleagues in the German department I have designed materials based around YouTube, which aim to encourage learners to work with authentic materials and to explore the range of multimedia sources available in the target language. I have also played a central role in the design of block seminar activities, such as an intensive workshop for beginners (February 2012) and a summer school for second level students (June 2012). These events sought to encourage students to reflect on the particular skills and strategies required for language learning and also aimed to increase their interest in, and identification with, aspects of the target language culture. I am conscious of the need to carefully evaluate the learning experience and, wherever possible, to incorporate student feedback in both module and curriculum design. For example, a key difficulty often commented on by learners relates to the reading of longer texts in the target language. In designing modules and curriculum I have sought to respond to this in a number of ways: offering a general support hour, devising reading plans and guided reading questions, providing online support materials (such as vocabulary glossaries) and devising group activities to encourage peer support.

Review and Enhancement of Curriculum

When planning modules I emphasise the clear formulation of learning outcomes and am interested in how these build on the learner's prior experience and understanding. This is particularly important when the target language is the object and simultaneously the communicative medium of a module. In the teaching of literature, for example, my first-year module began by focussing on the skills students had acquired at second level and asked them to reflect on the similarities and differences to studying literature in the target language. I adopted a combination of lectures and tutorials both to feed in new information and allow for the practical development of learning strategies. Because I consider modern language studies to be inherently holistic, when planning modules I always consider how they complement other teaching units. Therefore my translation teaching forms a bridge between language classes and the analysis undertaken in literature modules, and I seek to address learner anxiety about literary texts by incorporating teaching methods borrowed from the language classroom. In designing assessments I ensure learners receive feedback from an early stage and have an opportunity to act on that feedback in low-risk situations before they progress. In practical terms this has meant, for example, selecting the best assignments from a series of continuous assessment submissions, thus allowing students to learn from mistakes without undue penalty, or encouraging the resubmission of language work, which learners have improved on the basis of initial feedback. In designing assessment I also incorporate a variety of formats to promote all-round skills and encourage students to learn from their peers. In a level three literature module, for example, orally presented group projects require learners to explain an aspect of the curriculum to their peers. This develops team-working and communication skills as well as providing the foundation for subsequent formal written work.

Developing as a Teacher

I am a regular participant at professional development events and since the beginning of my employment at UCD (1999), I have attended at least seventeen training sessions devoted to best practice in teaching and learning. Recent events include seminars on European PhD networks (Berlin, 2012), over-assessment and attendance (UCD, 2012), feedback (UCD, 2011), first-year experience and module choice (UCD, 2008), dealing with plagiarism (UCD, 2009), evaluating the student experience (UCD, 2008), experience based learning (UCD, 2007). I also strive to update and improve my own practice by reading recent academic research in teaching and learning, exchanging with colleagues and engaging in self-reflection. Team teaching in core modules provides an excellent opportunity to gain direct feedback from colleagues, who often work alongside me in the classroom or lecture hall. As a teacher of language and culture modules, I also believe it is important to develop my skills by reflecting on my own language learning experiences. Recently, I have begun learning a new language (Irish) and have used this experience to refresh my own teaching. Examples of this include a renewed appreciation for the vulnerability of language learners and the importance of clear goal-setting in group situations.

Innovation & Leadership

I have played the lead role in devising and running a successful new programme (DN541), that attracts high calibre students (launched 2009, CAO points range 2011: 410-575). I have also been intensively involved in the design and delivery of innovative cross-cultural core modules for this programme, which make it unique in modern languages provision. I have served as Head of Teaching and Learning in the School of Languages and Literatures (2007-2009) and on the 2009 QA committee in the School.