This keynote address explores and opens out the idea of critical internationalizations. Internationalization is a complex and indeterminate process. Positing a continuum between 'transactional' and 'transformational' concepts of internationalization, this address explores a number of different social imaginaries of higher education, which condition and contextualize different and potentially conflicting social imaginaries of internationalization. It asks what opportunities exist to critically transform HE toward ecological, social and economic sustainability. Taking into consideration a wider societal context of resource, demographic and democratic deficits, the reclamation of ethics is argued for. The social sciences are called to, to provide tools and perspectives to effect more cosmopolitan policy perspectives through the exercise of critical refraction and transformative learning at institutional, societal and global levels.