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

University Curriculum: University Curriculum

Liberal Arts
Undergraduate Course
Degree Students
Fit Nation
Spring 2024
Taught By: Natalia Mehlman Petrzela
Section: L

CRN: 13204

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. This course explores the evolution of the fit nation -- at once inclusive but inescapable, pervasive but elusive -- and considers the path forward.**Students must register for both the lecture and discussion section of this course.** [This ULEC is in category 3, Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Arts and Humanities.]

College: University Curriculum (UL)

Department: University Curriculum (UNIV)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Lecture (L)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 75

Add/Drop Deadline: February 4, 2024 (Sunday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: April 16, 2024 (Tuesday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every few 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: 11:26am EDT 6/20/2024

Meeting Info:
Days: Monday
Times: 12:20pm - 1:35pm
Building: TBD
Room: TBD
Date Range: 1/22/2024 - 5/13/2024