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The Collaborative Ethnography of Carl: Carlisle Dockery

Name: Carlisle Jane Dockery

Class: 2016

Hometown: Charleston, South Carolina, “the number one tourist destination in the world—Google it”

Major: Anthropology. (She declared the summer after her sophomore year by scanning the form and emailing it to Angie Dewberry.)

Zodiac sign: “I have no idea.”

Eating House: Rusk

Activities: Women’s “Varsity Club Soccer,” Shades of Brown, Davidson Outdoors. “Also Bee Club, but all of the bees died. Include that to shed light on colony collapse.”

By the time 2016 had rolled around, I’d spent a good 6 months lobbying for Carlisle Jane Dockery to be featured as Campus Profile. To me, a fellow curly-haired Ruskie, there is no better candidate on Davidson’s campus. Carlisle is a lot of things: friendly, fun, thoughtful, loyal, and above all, delightfully strange in the best way. I say this with love. Two years ago, as a freshman, freshly self-selected into Rusk, I found Carlisle both effortlessly approachable and endlessly cool — two concepts that don’t often work together. But she’s just that special.

I interviewed Carlisle at Rusk during a Friday lunch; we sat at a table for over an hour as different people filtered in and out, offering their own questions and opinions on Carlisle’s life. What you see below is pure, unfiltered Carl. I think.

If you were a breakfast food, which would you be?: Tater tots at Davis Café

Top 5 Favorite Movies: Sister Act, Swiss Family robinson, Like Mike, Sister Act 2, and (added after about half an hour of other questions) Daddy Day Care

Siblings: She has two younger ones; I asked if she would consider herself a good role model, and she said, definitively, “Yes. Oh, absolutely.”

Guilty pleasure: Walking to Harris Teeter

Celebrity Crush: Andre 3000

Campus Crush: Brendan (Rusk’s chef)

Favorite Commons meal: Something they served her freshman year called “4AM Pizza,” which had “taco sauce,” taco meat, lettuce, and doritos. Another Ruskie nearby during our interview added, “Yeah, that was terrible.”

Favorite Rusk meal: Brendan’s pecan pie and fried chicken

Dream job: “I will not answer that.” (Later, she sent me a GIF to summarize her feelings about this question.)

Most embarrassing Baby Carlisle story: In kindergarten she got sent home twice: the first, because “we were served apples and I stuffed them up my nose,” and the second because “I ate a bunch of leaves.”

Favorite classes at Davidson: “Let me check my BannerWeb,” she said, legitimately checking all the classes she’s had before deciding on “Education in African American Society.”

Favorite Disney movie: Robin Hood and Bed Knobs and Broomsticks 

Favorite fast food: Zaxby’s chicken

Her brief TV career: If you know Carlisle, you’ve likely already heard this story. Last summer, during her Sustainability Scholars internship, she worked at Friendship Gardens. She was told she would appear on a radio show profiling said workplace. She thought she was going to talk about the aquaponics system. Instead, it turned out to be a live television segment on WCCB Charlotte with “Wilson from Wilson’s World.” “When it came time that it was my turn,” Carlisle said, “they asked, ‘What is sustainability? And then we’re gonna talk about your life.’ ” She added, for her public’s benefit, “Aquaponics are sick and so is Friendship Gardens.”


How do you keep your curls so perfectly curly?: Years of practice. “We’ve been through some terrible times together,” she said, including bangs and an afro. She has been described as “Mia Thermopolis before she got her makeover.” When pressed for curl tips, she added, “Shampoo and conditioner?”

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever gotten?: When she was fifteen, she went to soccer camp and was placed on a team for “12-14 year olds.” “I was better than all the twelve-year-olds,” she remembered fondly. One college-age coach said to another, about Carl, “She’s as fast as you! She could be on the team!”

Fun Fact: Before she came to Davidson, she had never worn her hair in a bun. This is surprising to anyone who has seen Carlisle in her signature topknot. “I always wanted to wear one in high school,” she says, but apparently all the cool soccer girls in high school (which she wasn’t??) wore buns.

I include this photo to showcase the topknot but also because that’s me on the right. (In person! With the celeb herself!)

But Carlisle is not only zany movie choices and excellent storytelling. When asked more serious questions, she delivers (in her typical humorous fashion). She describes her favorite Davidson memory as a DO trip her sophomore Easter break, where she was scheduled to go to Capers Island for the weekend. Before they left for SC, they watched Mean Girls at F, went geocaching in the Harris Teeter parking lot, borrowed bikes, and made nachos. The next day, due to a storm, they drove down to Charleston, but couldn’t make it to the island, so they went to Carlisle’s childhood home and camped in her backyard and cooked on the back porch.

When asked about her junior fall abroad, she says, no holds barred, “It was the greatest program in the entire world.” She did SIT’s program “IHP: Cities in the 21st Century (People, Planning, and Politics).” (When naming this title, she specified the commas and open/closed parens for clarity.) SIT took her to New York City; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Capetown, South Africa; and Hanoi, Vietnam. Her favorite experience during these months was one weekend in Hanoi when she and some friends took an overnight train, stayed in a hotel in the mountains, and rented motorbikes.

Finally, I reached my last question: Next year? I said the question mark out loud. “Yeah,” Carl said, “question mark. I am applying to things with wild abandon.” She did specify, however, “There will be a next year, and I will not be staying in the southeast.”

Another girl at our Rusk table added, as we were wrapping up, “What do you think makes you a celebrity?” and Carl joked, “That’s what I’ve always wondered,” before hypothesizing: “People enjoy making fun of me so my name gets around?”

I can assure you, that’s not it. Carlisle is the funniest person I’ve come across at Davidson, not to mention one of the most genuinely friendly. If you’re also into Andre 3000, Zaxby’s, Daddy Day Care, sustainability, bees, soccer, or Harris Teeter: look her up. Get to know her. It’s worth it.

And if you can find the WCCB interview online, let me know.

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