Mate Rigo

Humanities (History)

Assistant Professor


View Curriculum Vitae

Assistant Professor Mate Rigo is a historian of modern Europe. His interests span the histories of Eastern, East-Central, and Western Europe, and the history of capitalism. He also has a keen interest in literature and the arts. Dr Rigo received his MA (2012) and PhD (2016) in History from Cornell University. He also holds an MA in Central European History and Jewish Studies from Central European University. In 2016-2017, Dr Rigo was a Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, where he especially enjoyed the meetings and workshops of the Evolution of Capitalism reading group that he co-founded.

As an undergraduate at Bard College and Eötvös Loránd University, Dr Rigo concentrated on the social history of modern Europe, migration, gender, urban history, and studio arts. His interests in great books stem from his time at Bard, where he was inspired by the potential of an interdisciplinary learning environment. An avid traveller, Dr Rigo studied and did historical research in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Romania, Slovakia, Austria, and Switzerland, as well as his native Hungary. His work relies on the analysis of texts written in English, German, French, Hungarian, Romanian, Italian as well as Slovak, and he is thus especially excited to supervise projects on transnational and international history.

Dr Rigo’s work has been supported by the Central European History Society, the Luigi Einaudi Graduate Fellowship, the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, the Walter LaFeber Research Fellowship, the Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellowship, the Romanian Cultural Institute, the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund, and most recently by the Messenger-Chalmers Prize for the best dissertations at Cornell.

Dr Rigo is currently working on his book manuscript, which is under consideration by Cornell University Press. The working title of the book is Creative Destruction: The First World War and the Survival of Business Elites at the Margins of Empire. The monograph investigates how and why business elites survived the cataclysm of the First World War in both Western and East-Central Europe.

Dr Rigo’s research interests include:

Modern Europe (19th and 20th century)
France and Germany
Central and Eastern Europe
Habsburg Monarchy and successor states, esp. Hungary and Greater Romania
Transnational and comparative history
International history
History of capitalism
Business history

“The Long First World War and the survival of business elites in East-Central Europe: Transylvania’s industrial boom and the enrichment of economic elites” European Review of History, 24/2 (2017): 250-272.
“Ordinary Women and Men: Superintendents and Jews in the Budapest Yellow-star Houses in 1944-45” Urban History, 40 (2013): 71-91.

“A Hungarian version of the Historikerstreit? A summary of the Romsics-Gerő debate among Hungarian historians (2012)” in Imre Kertész Kolleg, Jena, Germany ”Cultures of History” forum.


Modern Social Thought
Europe and the Sea