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Rigo, Mate

Assistant Professor

Yale NUS College, Singapore


Max Weber alumnus

Department of History and Civilization

Cohort(s): 2016/2017

Ph.D. Institution

Cornell University, United States


I am defending my PhD in European history at Cornell University in June 2016, after receiving MA degrees in English literature and History from ELTE (Budapest), in Comparative History and Jewish Studies from Central European University (Budapest), and in History from Cornell. My dissertation, titled ’Imperial Elites after the Fall of Empires: The Fate of Business in Europe’s East and West, 1867-1928,’ investigates an apparent paradox in modern European history: the survival of traditional business elites amidst the political and territorial changes and growing state intervention into the economy during and after World War I.
The project unfolds through the study of economic elites in two borderlands – Alsace-Lorraine and Transylvania – which allows me to speak to the situation in two empires, as well as France, Switzerland, postwar Hungary, Weimar Germany, and Greater Romania, thus bridging the often anachronistic divide between scholarship on Western and East-Central Europe. Through archival research in five countries and as many languages (German, French, Hungarian, Romanian and English), I examine how and why some sections of imperial business elites fared so well in a Europe of nation-states.
In Florence, I am finalizing my book manuscript and preparing articles for publication. In addition to my research, I have also taught a number of undergraduate courses at Cornell, including my own first-year writing seminar in intellectual history, as well as courses on the economic, social and cultural history of modern Europe, the history of terrorism, history of science, and the Soviet Union. I have co-founded (with Holly Case) and served as the primary convener of Cornell’s East Europeanist Circle and served as co-editor of the East-Central Europe Past and PresentBlog.
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