Dr. Sistrunk has taught in the Department of History at CSU, Chico since 1995. He has offered many courses in the comparative history of global societies and has focused especially on the intersections of ideas and law and their impact on how people have conducted themselves in their relationships within the natural world. This has led him to develop courses in U.S. environmental history, global environmental history and the long history of human responses and participation in catastrophic circumstances. These teaching interests have made him active in the development and articulation of sustainability principles at Chico State where he has joined many creative colleagues across the University in considering how sustainability competencies can be cultivated throughout an interdisciplinary curricula.
Dr. Sistrunk’s research on the origins of Western European environmental law grew from practice as a historian of the European Middle Ages beginning with the development of legal medicine in the 12th -14th centuries C.E. and the study of the connections between scientific and technological change and juridical ideas about the environment. These pursuits have led to articles that appear in the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, The Journal of Medieval History, and Dante Studies dealing with political/legal theory, windmills, falcons and the medieval wolf. Because of this study and teaching, Dr. Sistrunk has served K-12 instructors of the North State and throughout California as the content director of summer institutes about U.S and global environmental history and as a plenary speaker at professional development conferences.
He has also spoken in international and regional venues about the importance of the historian’s approach to human interaction within the natural spaces we inhabit, both to understand what has been done and believed before us, but also to address contemporary challenges.
He was the first recipient of the Paul Person’s Sustainability Award for integrating environmental and sustainability issues into his course work in 2008.