Fall 2016 - First of all, I wouldn't recommend this class unless you have no choice. It is true that you go to lecture and do your readings, then you do well. BUT think of this class is a 4-unit class, but it is way much more stuff, even more than some of the 5-unit classes. You have hundreds of readings to do every week, weekly assignment due on discussion section, two additional assignments (a diet diary and a 1800-word project), AND you have a midterm and final which are not easy at all. His lectures are basically just that he read off his notes/written essays about his review on those readings in a fast, quiet tone. He had nothing on his slides except a few pictures. There isn't any so-called "lectures." All this class is about readings, if you don't read, you can't understand in lecture and you screw up. BUT the readings' workload are huge and they are hard, not easy to understand at all! He requires you to finish reading before every class, but these readings are about like food and Marx theory (WTH?!). I would say give some introduction about the big picture before letting us read will be more effective. It seems like he thinks all students only have this class. SO, if you only think this class as a 4-unit class and enroll it with other major classes, you gotta be careful. ALSO, he has so many requirements. He didn't allow you to argue your grade unless its a calculating error. A lot of "you can't do..." and he takes picture of the scene of every student taking exam in case of cheating, which is a little bit over. He tells us in the last class, "I can tell you right now the final will be a difficult 3-hour exam." I really feel he's intending to MAKE students work hard.
Grade: A I took Anthro 133F (Anthropology of Food) with Gupta and all I can say is wow. Hands down one of the best, most interesting classes I have ever taken at UCLA. Gupta is a kind, well articulated professor who loves what he does and has a great deal of knowledge about it. If you're looking for that easy A, this may or may not be your class. All you need to get a good grade is go to lecture (or listen to the podcast) and read the readings/view the films. He incorporates the readings and movies (which are actually good movies) into class lectures effectively. This class forever changed my conception and understanding of food/culture in a very positive way. Most importantly, he is not monotone and his lectures are actually interesting. I highly recommend taking this class to anyone who values learning something that isn't just going to be an easy A, but might actually teach you something that is useful and entertaining.
Do not take Gupta if possible. He cares so little about teaching or students. He told us he would not respond to questions via email. The only grades are the midterm and the final, and the class is curved. This may sound good to a lot of people, but in reality the questions were deliberately designed to trick you - with choices such as "A, B, C, A & B, A & C". The questions were often framed in an unclear manner, but you are not allowed to ask clarifying questions. He is a completely ineffective teacher and does not implement any student - focuses teaching methods.
Winter 2018 - Akhil Gupta's Development Anthropology class was hands down one of the most interesting classes I took in college. His lectures and reading material helped me contextualize international development in a way no other class at UCLA was able to do. Though the multiple choice questions on his tests are worded a little funky, I think if you read the material, you will be able to do well in this class. The curve is also in your favor.
I took Anthropology of Food when he first offered it. I enjoyed the class as he gave better than average lectures for an Anthropology professor and one that comes from an engineering background. He also integrated movies to further validated his points which gave a break to the traditional classroom What I didn't like was his avoidance to deal with grades. He has a policy that I respect where you don't question final grades. But I didn't like how he handled the final. He left during the Finals Week, and had proctors. I had 95% going into the final, but ended up with a B, because the proctors did nothing when people were texting answers on their phones obviously. This totally screwed the curve, even though he gives 50% A's and 40% B's, It was really bogus. I should have gotten an A