Dr. Sharmain van Blommestein is an Associate Professor and the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of English and Communication at SUNY Potsdam. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Florida and specializes in Medieval/Early modern literature, feminist theory, and women's and gender studies topics via British and American literary studies. Her research formulates a cultural and political context for the relationship/parallel between Medieval/Early Modern and contemporary issues on ideologies of the gendered body; the semiotic body; and the body/skin as book. She examines the cultural significations of, and the semiotic prescriptions deployed in, "writing" on, and reading of, the body/skin as an act of agency. These research interests also connect to topics pertaining to medieval medicine and the social approach to health and healing; the female body and prostitution; menstruation and reproduction; women and religious women; and disease from ancient to modern. Her present research involves partly writing/editing two encyclopedias: Women's Reproductive Lives: An Encyclopedia of Health, History, and Popular Culture; and Gynecology and Reproduction in Medieval/Renaissance Culture.