In his post on "Everything Studies," Joseph Kugelmass suggests that
If the humanities were to re-shape itself in order to accomodate the changing shape of culture, all of the analytical disciplines would combine—Philosophy, Political Science, English, Comparative Literature, History, Sociology, Anthropology, and the rest—while the creative disciplines would remain separate, including Creative Writing, Dance, Theater, Visual Arts, and Musical Composition. Critics and scholars are not always good artists, and vice versa. The grounds for such a merger would be basically ideological. If we accept the idea that our beliefs about the world are essentially constructions, then it makes sense to give the study of those constructions the widest possible scope . . . .
I would be willing to accept this proposal (with one proviso, discussed below), but there are actually a number of assumptions about both art (the "creative disciplines") and about academic study that need to be unpacked from this passage I've quoted.
That the humanities needs to be re-shaped because of the "changing state of culture" signals the extent to which the "humanities" as a marker of a certain kind of academic study has completely lost its original meaning. The "humanities" disciplines were those that resisted the scientific modes of inquiry in favor of a more impressionistic, a more humane (as in "humane learning") approach to certain kinds of human productions and experiences. That these disciplines now focus almost exclusively on a quasi-scientific study of "culture" suggests that "humanities" as an umbrella term ought to just be dropped in favor of the more descriptive "cultural studies," which might indeed include "everything."
"Analytic" is of course a nice term to be used whenever it's necessary to distinguish between mere emotional and instinctual artists and real thinkers--the intellectually rigorous (and properly credentialed) "scholars" who can cut through all the artsy-fartsy rigamarole favored by the "creative" types and let us know what all cultural activites are finally really about. Thus dividing existing disciplines into the "analytic" and the "creative," while potentially liberating for the "creative" endeavors, is also partly a good way to get the academic dilettantes out of the way of the Serious people.
The notion that "our beliefs about the world are essentially constructions" (revised in the next paragraph to "the world is constructed by human beings"), however much it may ultimately be true, is also a neat way to marginalize the "creative disciplines," which are merely engaged in fashioning aesthetic objects and not "the world" (at least not until such objects are interpreted by the analytic disciplines.) The Everything Studies or Cultural Studies or Symbolic Systems Studies scholars are dedicated to understanding "the world," not just the trinkets or the word-games created by artists. Art and literature are useful tools if they can be enlisted in the larger "ideological" project of establishing social constructionism as the dominant worldview (at least among intellectuals), but they surely don't merit consideration as aesthetic constructions in their own right.
Joseph's distibution of "disciplines" to be included as "creative" is tellingly literal: "creative writing" but not English or Comparative Literature; "Visual Arts" but not art history; "Musical Composition" but not music history or analysis. It is certainly the case that "Critics and scholars are not always good artists, and vice versa," but surely the study of artistic forms is enhanced by some appreciation of artistic practice, just as, more importantly, programs focusing on artistic practice benefit from some attention to "analytic" questions. Partitioning the "creative" subjects so thoroughly from criticism and scholarship may seem to remove a source of contention so that both the creative and the analytic disciplines can get on with their "real" work, but I think it would ultimately only make disciplines such as English or Art (to the extent they don't just collapse into the sociology that "Everything Studies" wants to be) even more unappealing to students (who usually pursue these disciplines out of an initial enthusiasm for reading fiction or poetry or for experiencing works of visual art), and would almost certainly further marginalize creative writing or theater or music as "soft" performance-based programs useful mostly for "nurturing" writers and artists.
Thus I would endorse the Kugelmass Proposal (as if it needed my endorsement or not) only if, say, "creative writing" was understood to include not just a series of writing workshops but also a critical component that offered some exposure to literary history (emphasis on "literary" rather than "history") as well as some focus on literary criticism. This ought not to bother the faculty in Everything Studies, since this criticism would be "analytic" of literature as literature, not as another way of registering "the changing state of culture." It might have the happy consequence of returning the term "literary criticism" to its rightful place as the criticism of literature--especially new works of literature--and of transforming the academic criticism that has so misleadingly appropriated the term into something else--"everything criticism," I guess. But since academic critics have long eschewed examining anything so trifling as the merely literary, and are so eager to move on to Everything, I can't see why they would object.