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Trude Renwick

Trude - Portrait.jpg

Trude Renwick is a scholar of architecture and urbanism in Thailand and Southeast Asia whose research examines the intersections of commercial, spiritual and infrastructural space. She received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in Architecture History, Theory and Society with a designated emphasis in Anthropology and a certificate in Global Urban Humanities in 2021. She also received a Master’s in Design Studies with a focus on the History and Philosophy of Design from Harvard University.

At HKU Trude will complete her first book manuscript, tentatively titled “Eat, Pray, Shop: Spiritual Practice and the Shaping of Global Commercial Space in Bangkok.” This ethnography examines the role of official and unofficial spiritual practice in shaping Bangkok’s commercial landscape. Cases like the 2016 restrictions on street vending, the rebranding of Bangkok’s luxury malls, and the emergence of the city’s first creative district demonstrate how spiritual space is used to legitimize as well as resist commercial development. She completed this research over a span of two years and was funded by a Fulbright - Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad grant.

Her next project, “Peripheries Mobilized,” examines the impact of the Chinese-sponsored Pan Asia Railway on conceptions of periphery and frontier in cities along its central route. As key nodes along this new infrastructural network, previously “peripheral” urban outposts like Khon Kaen and Luang Namtha are now central foci for the Thai and Lao governments. Investments made in these remote cities by their respective national governments are not only in tourism and trade but in the creative industries and other intellectual infrastructures. Questions she hopes to explore through this project include: How is this newfound infrastructural investment altering the flow of labor into and out of these urban centers? Who are some of the non-state project stakeholders involved in the development of these small cities from artists to corporations? 


List of Publications 

“Jay Fai and the Anomaly of the ‘Good’ Street Vendor”                                               February 2021 Issue

Food, Culture and Society, Mobilizing the Streets                                                                                                   

Power and Ritual in the City: Pilgrimage and Political Juncture at Bangkok’s Sanam Luang

Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Co-Author Bronwyn Isaacs (Secondary)                                                

Accepted Pending Revisions


Collective Construction: The Role of “Community” in Shaping the Global Face of a Bangkok Neighborhood   

City and Society                                                                                                            

Accepted Pending Revisions

Co-written with Dr. Hayden Shelby (Primary Author), University of Cincinnati - Urban Planning


“Creativity in the Global City: Spirituality, Authenticity and Commerce in Bangkok”

Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Speculative Urbanism                                                     Under Review




Informal Markets Project                                                                                                      Forthcoming


Who’s Next? We Need to Talk About Homelessness                                                                        2022

      Co-Author Valentina Rozas-Krause

      Edited by Andres Lepik and Daniel Talesnik


The Mall as Political: The Urban Interweaving of Bangkok’s Past and Present                                       2015

      Chapter in edited volume entitled: Politics and Aesthetics of Creativity: City Culture and Space in

      East Asia.

      Edited by Lu Pan, Heung Wah Wong and Karin Ling-fung Chau  



Book Review in American Anthropologist                                                                            January 2022

Rituals of Care: Karmic Politics in an Aging Thailand by Felicity Aulino. Cornell University Press, 2019, 210 pp.


Book Review in The Asian Journal of Social Science                                                         September 2022

Political Violence in Southeast Asia since 1945: Case Studies from Six Countries. Routledge, 2021.

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