The relationship between scholars and modern states is often more complex than we tend to assume, and this complexity especially affects academic experts who work in, or are citizens of, nation-states other than those that they study-including scholars who study Spain from elsewhere. If they are lucky, they receive double the state support and recognition. More often, they are caught between competing loyalties or targeted for surveillance and harassment from one or both sides. Modern nation-states have tended to consider the academic fields that study their own history and culture as a potential generator of status and prestige and, therefore, as extensions of their foreign policy and even a kind of shadow diplomacy. These same nation-states also crave scholarly knowledge about other nations, mobilizing scholars less as shadow diplomats than as shadow spies. This essay looks at the relationship of some prominent United-States-based Hispanists with the American and Spanish state between the 1920s and the present. Although the notion that scholars' work should serve the interests of their nation-state is not as prevalent today as it was in the mid-twentieth century, the state continues to exert influence of the shape and evolution of the scholarly study of Spain.