John L. Froitzheim, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Founder's Hall 327

Primary fields

  • Comparative politics
  • International relations
  • Public law


  • Africa
  • State building and state collapse
  • Institutions
  • Developmental politics
  • Political economy
  • Conflict processes
  • International law
  • Environmental law and politics
  • Narcotics and the War on Drugs


John Froitzheim received his doctorate in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia in 2009, an LL.M. (transnational business practice) from McGeorge School of Law, a JD from St. John’s University School of Law and his bachelor's (political science and history) from SUNY Stony Brook. As an attorney, he has worked abroad in Singapore and in New York, where he specialized in business transactions. He has served as a consultant to the World Bank, for the Global Partnership on Disabilities and Development, and with both non-profit and private companies engaged in international development. His work has ranged from helping disabled persons organizations in Brazil to the training of members of civil society organizations in Georgia and Armenia.

John’s academic interests focus on the politics of developing countries, especially Africa, and the building and collapse of institutions. His dissertation focused on state building and democratization in Botswana and Mauritius. He has presented research at the American Political Science Association’s Annual meetings on topics ranging from African state formation, comparative methodology, civil-military relations, democratization and accountability, urbanization in the third world and violence, and globalization and the spread of infectious diseases. Prior to joining the faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University, John taught at the University of Virginia, the College of William & Mary and University of Mary Washington. He is currently focusing his research on modern state formation and collapse and also on international environmental issues.

John lives with his wife in Williamsburg. He volunteers with the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society’s Farm Workers Program and enjoys reading, movies and travel.

Past courses

  • Introduction to International Relations
  • Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • Politics of Developing Countries
  • Politics of Africa
  • Global Environmental Governance
  • Environmental Law and Governance
  • Constitutional Law
  • War on Drugs