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Stuck or Rooted? The Costs of Mobility and the Value of Place

With Naomi Schoenbaum

Economic inequality in the United States has been on the rise.  One of the diagnoses of the cause of this increasing inequality is the falling rate of geographic mobility.  There has been no shortage of calls to address inequality with enhanced mobility: simply move those people in less productive places to more productive places.  But this view of geographic mobility as a cure to our economic woes overstates the benefits of mobility and fails to account for its costs, including the loss of important attachments to particular places.  Even if mobility can sometimes provide economic gains, this is not all that counts for our happiness.  For many, being rooted in a place they call home is what matters most.


Naomi Schoenbaum is an Associate Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School whose research centers on employment law, family law, antidiscrimination law, and gender. Her work has addressed the legal regulation of critical but often overlooked relationships in the market, such as those between coworkers and those between workers and customers, as well as the design of employment discrimination law.  Her current research is focused on discrimination and intimacy in the sharing economy, unsexing the law of pregnancy, and the law’s increasing turn to ignorance to achieve antidiscrimination goals. Her work has appeared in numerous law journals, as well as popular publications such as Slate and The Atlantic.   

Professor Schoenbaum is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Journal of Law & Gender, and Yale University, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of Aurora magazine. Prior to joining the law faculty, Professor Schoenbaum was a Bigelow Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School, a law clerk to the Honorable Karen Nelson Moore of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, a Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellow, and a litigation associate at the law firm Sidley Austin.

Join us in the Applebarn on Fridays for artist talks, guest lectures, residency presentations, roundtable discussions and engaging conversations on art, ecology, food, philosophy and more!  

Earlier Event: August 8
Rural America
Later Event: August 12
Baking With Luke: Bagels