Susan Mays

Other facultyPhD and MA, Columbia and Harvard




East Asia; China; economic & technological development; global economic history


Current positions: Faculty, Collge of Liberal Arts (East Asia/China focus); Faculty Fellow at Peking University in China

Susan Mays' primary focus is Asian economic history and global history.  Her interdisciplinary research centers on China's economy, East Asia, global economic and technolgical development, and professional mobility.  Her recent projects have addressed high technology sectors in East Asia, particularly China, including how globalized trade, investment, and supply chains influence organizational change and human capital development.  As an economic historian, she is concerned with macro-economic trends and trends in business, technology, and human resources.  


  • Global Economies: Asia and the US (upcoming)
  • China's Economy
  • Globalization and Professional Mobility
  • Asian American History

In her most recent study, Dr. Mays examined how formerly state-dominated industries in China have evolved over the past 20 years to now include an array of organizational forms including private firms, joint ventures, and foreign firms, as well as state-owned and state-invested firms.  Her study "Rapid Advance: High Technology in China in the Global Electronic Age" (2013) examines how the semiconductor industry in China evolved from a being a state-owned and technologically-backward industry in the late 1980s to being an important contributor in the global semiconductor industry post-2000.  This study captures China's domestic economic reforms as well as its ever-increasing global integration.

Susan Mays holds a PhD from Columbia University in Global Economic History (Asia/China focus), an MA from Harvard University in East Asian Studies (China focus), an MS from Stanford in Engineering-Economic Systems, and a BS from Purdue in Industrial Engineering.  Prior to UT, she was at Columbia University in New York City where she was a recipient of the five-year Hofstadter Fellowship as well as a Weatherhead Fellowship, among other grants and fellowships.  Prior to academia, Dr. Mays worked in business and technology with Fortune 500 companies, initially as an engineer and later as a managment consultant with A.T.Kearney.  During that time, much of her work centered on the global supply chains of electronics-related companies.  Susan Mays first traveled to China in 1993, and since 1999, her work has been primarily focused on China and East Asia, including periods of living and working in China.  Along with scholarly work, she continues to consult with businesses and other organizations through M~Stone Advisory.  


ANS 361 • Global Economies: Asia & Us

30801 • Spring 2016
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM BUR 220
(also listed as AAS 325)

FLAG: Global Cultures

COURSE DESCRIPTIONThis course introduces key trends in the economies of the US and Asia, with emphasis on the links between these two major trading blocs.  The class addresses the rise of China and India as well as the development of Japan, the “Tiger” economies, and Southeast Asia.  The course examines the connections between Asia and the US in trade, technology and knowledge transfer, and outsourcing, considering key sectors such as manufacturing, technology, finance, and infrastructure.  Importantly, the class addresses professional and labor migration between Asia and the US, including the growth of the Asian American population and a globalized professional class.  The approach is historical and comparative (quantitative analysis is not required), and the reading includes scholarly works and case studies as well as articles by business leaders, industry analysts, and journalists.

AAS 312 • Intro To Asian American Hist

35260 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM BUR 220
(also listed as HIS 317L)

Flag: Cultural Diversity in the U.S.

This course examines major themes in Asian American history circa 1800 to the present, focusing on Americans of East, South, and Southeast Asian heritage.  With a flag for Cultural Diversity, this class explores Asian American history as an integral part of US history while also considering the social, cultural, and economic experiences of an ethnic group as it sought equality in the United States.  The class covers the diverse histories of Asian Americans, while identifying struggles that were common to Asian Americans as they immigrated, established citizenship, and built lives, careers, and communities in the United States.  Given the rapid growth of the Asian American population in recent decades, the course explores drivers of emigration from Asia, including the rapid economic growth of Asian economies in recent decades, as well as the changing landscape for Asian Americans in the US and abroad.  The course is organized by topic, and it makes use of scholarly articles, journalistic accounts, biographies, and documents by community leaders and organizations.

AAS 325 • Globlztn/Asian Profssnl Moblty

36271 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM SAC 5.102

AAS325: Globalization and Asian Professional Mobility

This course examines how economic trends in the world economy in the late 20th and early 21st centuries have contributed to the formation of a global professional class.  The course asks how upward mobility, both professional and economic, is affected by globalization and technological trends.  The emphasis is on the financial, managerial, and technical elite in the U.S., Greater China, India, and other South and East Asian nations.  The course begins by considering macro-economic trends and then it addresses the following topics: migration, social networks, and economic mobility; technology and global knowledge diffusion; international education and today’s “global” universities; programs in Asia to foster tech and economic development; labor markets and income distribution; and how "social capital" (i.e., institutions, norms, and relationships) supports a global professional class.  We will read scholarly works on the above topics, as well as works by journalists, economists, and business leaders.

2 Flags: Global Cultures; Cultural Diversity

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