Articles on Explainer

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The conductor’s role is to communicate with the performers and their audience. Their role is part artistic, part mathematical. Shutterstock

Explainer: what exactly do musical conductors do?

A conductor's role is about communication with performers and their audience. They do so using eye contact, dress, and of course, the fabled waving of the arms.
Sculpture of ninth-century Persian scholar Al-Khwarizmi in Khiva, Uzbekistan. Latin discovery of Al-Khwarizmi’s work introduced the numerals 0-9, one of many ways in which Islamic cultures have contributed to Western civilisation. LBM1948/Wikimedia Commons

Explainer: what Western civilisation owes to Islamic cultures

Western civilisation and Islam are sometimes seen as diametrically opposed. Yet Islamic cultures have contributed much to the West, in language, philosophy and literature.
A supporter of Narendra Modi’s BJP party at rally in late March. Jaipla Singh/EPA

India: what’s at stake in the 2019 elections

India heads to the polls in April and May for the world's biggest democratic exercise. Why the world should be watching this election.
Special counsel Robert Mueller reached no definitive conclusion about whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice in firing FBI Director James Comey or attacking his own investigation. Reuters/Hyungwon Kang, AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Reuters/Jonathan Ernst, Twitter

Trump and obstruction of justice: An explainer

Legally, a person can obstruct justice even if he committed no other crime – though it is harder to prove. It all depends on the intent behind pressuring investigators, say, or firing an FBI director.
Indian soldiers arrive at the wreckage of an an Indian helicopter that crashed on the Indian side of Kashmir on Feb. 27, 2019. AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan

Kashmir conflict is not just a border dispute between India and Pakistan

India and Pakistan have been fighting for control over Kashmir, an 86,000-square-mile territory in the Himalayas, for seven decades. But the people of Kashmir have their own political goals too.
Protestors at the Women’s March in Washington in January 2017. There was intense discussion of intersectionality at the time of this march. Shutterstock

Explainer: what does ‘intersectionality’ mean?

The term initially focussed on the intersection between race and gender, but more recent uses have extended to include sexuality, gender diversity and disability.
Detail from Artemisia Gentileschi’s Self-Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria, c. 1616. Her role playing predates by centuries the preoccupations of artists such as Cindy Sherman. Wikimedia

Explainer: Artemisia Gentileschi, a Baroque heroine for the #MeToo era

Born into late-16th century Papal Rome, Gentileschi transcended the path of utter obscurity that was the lot of her female peers to become one of the most famous painters of the day.

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