This paper argues that current changes underway in the daily lives of faculty at US research universities need to be understood contextually. A critical contextualization is a first step in realizing critical geographies of and in the university. This argument is elaborated in a consideration of three situations the author has faced: teaching undergraduate economic geography in an era of globalization; the professionalization of graduate students, and universities' indifference to the fuller lives of (in this case) faculty.