Scholar. Writer. Teacher. Activist.
Natalia Mehlman Petrzela is a historian of contemporary American politics and culture. She is the author of Classroom Wars: Language, Sex, and the Making of Modern Political Culture (Oxford University Press, 2015), and the forthcoming FIT NATION: The Gains and Pains Of America’s Exercise Obsession (University of Chicago Press, 2022). She is co-producer and host of the podcast WELCOME TO YOUR FANTASY, from Pineapple Street Studios and Gimlet – and recognized as the “best of 2021” by Vogue, Esquire, The New York Times, and Vulture – and the co-host of Past Present Podcast. Her work has been supported by the Spencer, Whiting, Rockefeller, and Mellon Foundations. Natalia is a frequent media guest expert, public speaker, and contributor to international and domestic news outlets, from the New York Times to the Washington Post to CNN to the Atlantic. She is Associate Professor of History at The New School, co-founded and directed the wellness education program Healthclass 2.0, and is a Premiere Leader of the mind-body practice intenSati. She holds a B.A. from Columbia and a master’s and Ph.D. from Stanford and lives with her husband and two children in New York City.
Americans Have Changed the Way They Exercise. Here’s How Gyms Are Adapting