Fit Nation? How America Became Obsessed with Fitness as the Government Abandoned It

University Liberal Arts: University Lecture Program

Liberal Arts

Undergraduate Course

Degree Students

Fit Nation

Spring 2021

Taught By: Natalia Mehlman-Petrzela

Section: L

CRN: 7258

Credits: 0

Americans today can’t open their inboxes or walk a few blocks without encountering some exhortation to exercise. Far from any sweaty locker room, fitness has become a figurative backdrop for much of modern life: an intrepid reporter breaks a story by flying cross-country to do Pilates alongside an inscrutable source; a CEO confides that her hiring secret is observing applicants in a post-interview spin session; a Harlem yoga class furnishes proof positive to community organizers that gentrification has run amok; high-fashion designers launch athleisure collections; FitBit data solves a murder. Given the United States is hardly a “fit nation” – only 20 percent of Americans work out consistently and our "obesity epidemic" regularly makes international headlines – the real questions are how did this happen? And is the creation of the "fit nation" a sign of progress? The answers lie in history. In the past 75 years, “the gym” has evolved from a strange subculture to a social imperative. An expanding American exercise culture has shaped our ideas about health, beauty, and consumerism, yet fitness has also become a stark socioeconomic marker dividing haves and have-nots as a private industry booms and public options wane. In a moment when President Trump breaks ranks with his predecessors in both parties in disdaining exercise as a personal, much less a policy priority, this course explores the evolution of the fit nation -- at once inclusive but inescapable, pervasive but elusive -- and considers the path forward. [This ULEC is in category 2, Introductions to Social Research.]

College: University Liberal Arts (UL)

Department: University Lecture Program (ULIB)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Lecture (L)

Max Enrollment: 101

Add/Drop Deadline: N/A
Online Withdrawal Deadline: N/A

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Open*

*Status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 11:47pm 7/11/2020 EDT

Meeting Info:

Days: Tuesday

Times: 2:10pm - 3:25pm

Building: Academic Entrance 63 Fifth Ave

Room: L104

Date Range: 1/19/2021 - 5/4/2021