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. Asst Prof 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, Asst Prof 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, Asst Prof 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, Asst Prof 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.

Asst Prof 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.

Asst Prof Rigo’s book manuscript investigates how and why business elites survived the cataclysm of the First World War in both Western and East-Central Europe.

He is simultaneously working on a second project that explores commercial connections between Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia in the era of the Cold War and regime changes after 1989.

Asst Prof 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
Socialist economies
Cold War studies
Global Southeast Asian history

Selected Peer-reviewed Publications

“Transcending the East-West Divide: Towards a European History of Post-1918 Transitions” [in English] Passato e Presente, Rivista di storia contemporanea 106/2019

“New Versailles or a Velvet Revolution? Brexit and the Exits of Central and Eastern European History, 1916–2016” (with Ferenc Laczo) Contemporary European History, 28/1 (2019): 57-60.

“Imperial Currencies after the Fall of Empires: The Exchange of the German Paper Mark and the Austro-Hungarian Crowns at the End of the First World War,” (under review, expected 2020)

“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’s Yellow-star Houses in 1944-45” Urban History, 40/1 (2013): 71-91.

1989: The End of the Cold War (3k undergraduate seminar)
History of Crises: Europe’s Twentieth Century (2k undergraduate seminar)
1917 War and Revolution! (3k undergraduate seminar)
Age of Capital (4k advanced undergraduate seminar)
Crisis and Continuity, Europe’s Twentieth Century (fall 2018) (4k advanced undergraduate seminar)
Europe and the Sea: The Making of a Continent (spring 2018) (2k undergraduate seminar)
Modern Social Thought (2k-level undergraduate seminar)